A DAY after former Supreme Court judge and Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju posted comments on Odisha and Odias on his Facebook page, he begged an apology for hurting the sentiments of the people. Talking to a local TV channel, Katju said he would post an apology on Facebook. “People have got a wrong impression with the Facebook post, which was just a joke.”
In his Facebook 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).”
But when the BJP, Congress, BJD and other organisations denounced him, Katju said he had a lot of respect for the people of Odisha. While people burnt his effigy and smeared his posters in Puri and other places, political parties flayed Katju for his remarks.
“In fact, Dr KN Katju, my grandfather, was Governor of Odisha. I have also respect for chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his father, late Biju Patnaik. I have been to the state many times and have seen Konark temple, Lingaraj Temple and Puri Temple. I will post an apology on the Facebook immediately,” he said. “I confess that I do not know much about Odisha. I have to acquire a lot of knowledge about the state. At the age of 70, I believe I have to learn a lot,” added Katju.