NEW DELHI: Odisha-based journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra, who was arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks on Konark temple has 'unreservedly' apologised. The journalist said that it is better to be more reflective and mature about what is said on a public platform.
"I have realised that it's probably best that when on a public platform, you keep quiet and be more reflective and mature about what you say. I'll be standing in front of Odisha assembly on 23rd October," he said.
Apologising for making a few remarks against the Chief Minister and the state Assembly, he said: "Some of the nastier things I said about CM, the office, the Assembly, I was under immense stress and I would like to apologise for that unreservedly."
Defending himself, he said that he loves Odisha and has often heaped praises on the state. "If you read my research writing, a lot of it is always praising Odisha. I have always held Odisha in high regard. One of the reasons I visited was to look at history and contribution to Indian culture. I love Odisha. My Twitter account is more for fun, not professional," he said.
Earlier in the month, the Supreme Court had refused to grant him bail in connection with the case filed against him. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the plea of Mitra and had observed that he "incited religious sentiments".
The top court also refused to entertain the submission of Mitra's lawyer that his client was facing threat to his life. "If your life is in danger then what better place to stay than jail? Your life will be secure," said the bench, also comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph.
Mitra was arrested on September 20 by the Odisha police in the national capital but was granted bail by a Delhi court directing him to join the probe. The trial court had granted relief to Mitra on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and one surety of the like amount on a plea moved by him, while directing him to join the investigation in his native state.
Odisha Assembly had adopted a privilege motion on September 20 against Mitra for his alleged derogatory remarks.
Mitra has been made accused in the case along with former BJD-leader Baijayant Panda. A case was filed under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, grace, place of birth, residence, language etc) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs). If convicted, the accused may get a maximum of three-year jail term.