Bhubaneswar: Former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju has stirred up a controversy yet again, this time by posting alleged derogatory remarks about Odisha and its people.
After facing flak from the people of Odisha, Katju apologised.
In his Facebook post, Katju said: "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 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.
Later, Katju apologised on Facebook for his remarks.
"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."
However, the damage was already done.
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.
"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.
(With Agency inputs)