Former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju has stirred up a controversy yet again, this time by posting anti-Odia comments on the social media, which received strong criticism from the people of Odisha.
Katju wrote in his Facebook post: “I was asked to write about the Oriyas (Odias). What is there to write about these poor chaps? Ever since they got a thrashing at the hands of Ashoka in the battle of Kalinga, they have been a dejected lot.”
He further wrote: “Now all they have with them are a lot of pots (Patras), big pots (Mahapatras) and supposedly intelligent kings (Patnaiks). And of course, they have Lord Jagannath to whom they pray every day for revenge on the abominable Biharis. Hari Om.”
Katju’s remarks have sparked off criticism from across the state. Banners have been raised against him and effigies of the former apex court judge were burnt at several places in Puri and Bhubaneswar.
In Puri, the activists of “Jagannath Sena” staged an angry protest in front of Jagannath Mandir and burnt Katju’s effigy. In Bhubaneswar, a life-size effigy was burnt at the Master Canteen Chhak.
The protestors demanded an unconditional apology from Katju, who was also the Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman, for his remarks against the Odias and about Lord Jagannath.
“Katju has no knowledge about Odisha’s history and still has given his comments. He should read history first before making any comment. He has committed a blunder,” said senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Biswabhusan Harichandan.
“Foolish, juvenile comments deserve contempt, not a response. Clearly, neither years nor a career in law can be relied upon to impart wisdom!” tweeted ruling Biju Janata Dal MP Baijayant Panda.
Terming Katju’s remarks as unfortunate, Leader of Opposition in the Odisha assembly Narasingh Mishra said the former Supreme Court judge should beg apology of the people of the state.