Bhubaneswar: Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju today apologised on Facebook for his alleged derogatory remarks about Odisha and its people after an outcry against it.
"I said I had written my post in a lighter vein. However, if Odia people are feeling hurt I apologise. I had no intention to hurt their feelings, and was only joking, just as I had joked about Biharis, Tamilians, etc..," Katju wrote in his latest post in the social network.
Katju said, "When I went to Odisha, where I have been many times, I marvelled at the sight of the Konarak and Lingaraj temples."
In an earlier post, Katju had written, "What is there to write about these (Odiya) poor chaps? Ever since they got a thrashing at the hands of Ashoka in the battle of Kalinga, they have been a dejected lot. Now all they have with them are a lot of pots (Patras), big pots (Mahapatras) and supposedly intelligent kings (Patnaiks)."
This comes after the row over his remarks on Bihar, where he had said "We offer you Kashmir but you should take Bihar also," in one of his Facebook post. Katju further commented, "Once Firaq Gorakhpuri, my English teacher in Allahabad University, said to me 'hindustan ko khatra Pakistan se nahin hai, Bihar se hai'."
He was booked on sedition charge following a complaint by a JD(U) MLC against his online post that Kashmir should be offered to Pakistan on the condition that it takes Bihar too. This drew sharp criticism in Patna with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ridiculing him for trying to become 'Mai-Baap' (guardian) of the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav also took strong exception to Katju's comment saying, Bihar may be lacking in resources but it did not give Katju a free hand to humiliate the state. "Bihar has always shown the way to the country in good and bad times," said the son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
JD(U) General Secretary K C Tyagi and senior party leader Shyam Rajak sought trial of Katju under sedition law.
Madhepura MP and Janadhikar Party leader Pappu Yadav also condemned Katju's comments and sought public apology from him.
Supporting the sedition case against former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, former JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav had condemned his remarks on Bihar and said that the case under the stringent law will make him "careful" in future.
Faced with barrage of protests, Katju sought to backtrack and wrote on Facebook "I was only joking about Bihar."