Markandey Katju faces flak for Bihar jibe

Patna : Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju’s recent comment apparently denigrating Bihar has triggered a controversy, with some political leaders on Tuesday terming it a fit case of sedition and calling for his arrest.

Katju posted a sarcastic post on social media on Sunday, suggesting that Pakistan could get Kashmir if it agrees to take Bihar also as part of a “package deal”.

Addressing Pakistanis, the septuagenarian wrote on Facebook, “You have to take the whole package, or none at all. Either you take both Kashmir and Bihar, or nothing.”

Katju’s comment drew attacks, prompting him to say he was only joking. “I respect Biharis. Bihar has made a big contribution…it has seen great men like Gautam Buddha, Chandragupta Maurya and Ashok,” he said.

“Do you think I will seriously ask Pakistan to take the offer? I joke about many communities. Do you think I will seriously offer Bihar with Kashmir to Pakistan? It was just a joke and people should develop a sense of humour.”

Even as Katju made light his September 25 comment, political leaders did not take kindly to it and refused to allow him go unpunished.

Bihar BJP chief spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha demanded Katju’s “immediate arrest” on charges of “sedition”. Terming the comments as “serious”, he also demanded an inquiry to ascertain if Katju was “entrapped among anti-nationals out to destroy India’s sovereignty and integrity”.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, along with his deputy and even the opposition, slammed Katju on Tuesday reacting strongly against his ‘humiliating’ comments against the state and its people.  “Is Katju ‘mai-baap’ (mother and father) of Bihar or is Katju ‘maalik’ (owner)

of Bihar,” Nitish Kumar told media persons here.   Nitish said Bihar has a glorious past and a history full of remarkable contributions. “We are proud of Bihar and our roots here”.  Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav wondered who gave Katju the right to humiliate Bihar and its 10.5 crore people.   “The state of Bihar may be lacking in resources but it did not give Katju a free hand to humiliate Bihar… The state may be devoid of resources but it does not mean anyone can lambast it,” Tejaswi countered in his tweet.

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