High Flying MP Grounded

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Former MP Baijayant Panda finds himself in the midst of an unsavoury controversy with allegations that he flew his helicopter low over the Chilika Lake. What shocked the state even more, is his friend Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s derogatory remarks against Odisha’s culture with reference to Puri Jagananth temple and the sun temple at Konark.

Former MP Baijayant Panda finds himself in the midst of an unsavoury controversy with allegations that he flew his helicopter low over the Chilika Lake disturbing marine life and also causing panic among boatmen. One of the passengers in the helicopter, Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s comments about Odias and about the Puri Jagananth temple and sun temple at Konark also stirred a controversy with its heat also singing Panda.

Recently Mitra was arrested in Delhi and subsequently granted bail while Panda appeared before the police at Puri through his lawyer and submitted documents relating to the flying details of the helicopter he flew over Chilika lagoon on September 15.

Along with Panda’s lawyer, a four-member team of Indian Metal and Ferro Alloys Limited (IMFA), the company to which the helicopter belongs, also appeared before the police.  The police examined the flight details and route chart given by the team for nearly four hours.  The team sought more time for the appearance of Panda and his two co-passengers before the police.

Puri Sub divisional police officer (SDPO), Sushil Mishra said the police were examining all the records connected with the incident.  Panda has questioned the intention of the FIR lodged by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA). He tweeted  “FIR by Odisha Govt Ofcr changed “seaplane” to “helicopter” landed in Chilika 1.30 pm >But I flew (& ATC shows) 8.45am-10.28am & 12.50pm-1.26 pm landing at Bhubaneswar >So NOW @odisha_police CHANGES alleged time to 9.30am in summons >BUT i have photo proof at Puri then.”

Earlier, CDA in its FIR had maintained that the chopper was spotted around the Chilika at 1.30 pm on Saturday. “By that time, my chopper was in Bhubaneswar air port,” said Panda.What has shocked the state even more is Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s derogatory remarks against the state’s culture with reference to Puri Jagananth temple and the sun temple at Konark.

The Odisha assembly saw uproarious scenes over one of his tweets in 2017 in which he had said “Orissa itself was discovered by Bengali explorers. The remarked: “Ori Shala!!!” And it was named OriSha 2) Jaganath temple built by the Gangas, who were disgraced Pallava Tamil retainers 3) no such thing as Orissa, just the wild southern provinces of undivided Bengal.”

Servitors of Shree Jagananth Temple also reacted and demanded action against him. “He does not know Jagannath culture,” said one of them. A law maker said,“It is unfortunate that someone uses derogatory language lowering the dignity of Odia race. Stringent action should be taken against him. He is making such remarks frequently. We demand for action against him.”

A BJD leader said, “The way he has been passing derogatory remarks against Odisha and Lord Jagannath, is condemnable and a cognizable offence.” Even some BJP leaders condemned his remarks.

Panda also condemned Iyer’s statement in a tweet that said “It was an immature thing to do. He may have been trying satire, & perhaps meant the opposite of what some ppl concluded, but sarcasm doesn’t fit well w/religious & cultural sentiments, which call for sensitivity. Of course, it goes without saying i take pride in our heritage.”

He said, “The video which he posted seems to be comic, sarcastic in nature. It looks like a parody type. I don’t support all these things.”

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