You have to take both Kashmir and Bihar, or nothing: Katju to Pakistan
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. Bhar 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”.
The JD(U) described it as a case of ‘sedition’ and demanded stern action against Katju. The party’s general secretary KC Tyagi, terming Katju’s comments as “insensitive” and “intolerant”, said it was unfortunate that a person of his stature had said so in the centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha, which began from West Champaran in Bihar.
Tyagi’s party colleague, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar, said he will take legal opinion on whether a complaint case could be lodged against Katju. “Dragging former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a statesman, into the controversy is also in bad taste,” he said, describing Katju’s statements as an attack on Bihari sentiments.
Katju, in his post, said, “Atal Bihari Vajpayee had offered this deal to (then Pakistan President Parvez) Musharraf at the (2001) Agra summit, but he stupidly rejected it. Now the offer is coming again. Mat chook (don’t miss out this time)…”
Katju, also a former chairman of the Press Council of India, was lambasted on the social media, with netizens hurling invectives. Some even suggested Pakistan should take Katju instead of Bihar.