Odisha Up In Arms Against Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s ‘Derogatory Remarks’

Bhubaneswar: A day after Odisha Assembly had to be adjourned following uproarious scenes over Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s video at the Konark Sun Temple, his older tweets on the state have drawn the attention of Twitterati as well as politicians and Odias alike.

Iyer had tweeted on November 26, 2017, that “Odisha was discovered by Bengali explorers, who called it “OriShala!!! And it was named Orissa.” He also said that there’s “no such thing as Orissa, just the wild southern provinces of undivided Bengal.”

He also pointed out that the Ganga dynasty rulers built the Puri Jagannath Temple and they were Pallava Tamil retainers.

Demanding his arrest for uploading the video on social media, the BJD members had earlier staged a dharna in the well of the House and later under the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Assembly. The effigy of Iyer was also burnt in the state.

Meanwhile, leaders cutting across party lines have condemned these alleged derogatory remarks on Odisha and Odias.

BJD spokesperson Samir Das demanded strict action against him. “The way he has commented on Lord Jagannath and Odisha is completely condemnable,” he said.

Echoing his views, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra said, “Abhijit Mitra should be prosecuted. The contents in the video are enough evidence to prosecute him under the law.”

BJP spokesperson Pradip Purohit said the statement of Mitra is unacceptable. “After all, who is he to give such audacious statement on the pristine, tradition, culture and heritage of Odisha? Exemplary action must be taken those making such statement on our state and our presiding deity,” he pointed out.

“No one has discovered Odisha. Lord Jagannath is the symbol of our culture and tradition. He is not only the deity of Odisha but also the world. I don’t know who is Abhijit. We should not give any importance to what he has said about our state and our deity as he is a narrow-minded person,” senior Congress leader and Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said.

The video, which Iyer tweeted on September 15, hogged limelight after his trip to Puri and Konark in a chopper with former MP Baijayant Panda and senior journalist Aarti Tikoo the same day. The chopper and the hangar, which belongs to IMFA, was later seized by Odisha police for violating the ‘no-fly zone’ following a complaint lodged by Chilika Development Authority. IMFA is a company run by the former MP’s family.

Baijayant has also condemned the remarks, “The video was made when they went on a road trip. I was not present with them, but I condemn it. We should be sensitive about our religious places, heritage, tradition and history. So making a parody on such subjects is unwarranted. I am proud of our history and heritage,” he said.

Following the uproar in the Assembly, Iyer has responded by saying, “Happy to answer to anyone for my allegedly “distasteful” remarks. Says a lot about the abysmal intellectual Calibre of @Naveen_Odisha’s MLA’s the can’t tell satire from seriousness. But why drag Jay Panda into something he didn’t say? Pathetic.”

Also read: Ruckus In Assembly Over Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s Derogatory Remarks On Konark Sun Temple

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