Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju called himself the “Shakuni Mama of Biharis” on Wednesday, a riposte to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s outburst against the well-known jurist’s unflattering Facebook post on the state.
Shakuni, the maternal uncle of the Kauravas, is a negative character in the epic Mahabharat.
“Nitish Kumar says that I regard myself as the ‘mai baap’ (guardian) of Bihar. No Nitishji, I am not the ‘mai baap’ of Biharis but their Shakuni Mama,” he wrote on Facebook.
That was in response to chief minister Kumar’s public outburst against him on Tuesday, calling him Bihar’s “mai baap”.
Kumar was reacting to Katju’s sarcastic post on Sunday, suggesting that Pakistan could get Kashmir if it agrees to take Bihar as part of a “package deal”.
The sarcasm didn’t go down well as JD(U) legislator and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar on Tuesday evening lodged a police case against Katju for his utterances against Bihar. The case was registered under provisions in law that governs sedition — section 124(a) — and “assertion prejudicial to national integration”.
Bihar BJP chief spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha demanded his arrest on charges of sedition. Terming the comments as serious, he demanded an inquiry to ascertain if Katju was “entrapped among anti-nationals out to destroy India’s sovereignty and integrity”.
The sharp attacks, prompted the jurist to say he was only joking.
“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.”
Though he made light of his September 25 comments, he was not to be browbeaten by litigation.
Katju retaliated on Facebook on Wednesday: “I suggest Biharis should take their complaint against me to the U.N. When ‘cheer haran’ (stripping) of Draupadi was being done, she appealed to Lord Krishna to save her honour.”
Katju, also a former chairman of the Press Council of India, was lambasted on social media, with netizens hurling invectives. Some even suggested Pakistan should take him instead of Bihar.
Amit Kumar Tiwari, a netizen, wrote: “Sir, if u r a brahman… cow is your mother and bull is our father, admit it…”
Katju was prompt with an uncanny reply: “And bhainsa (buffalo) is my chacha (uncle).”
The jurist seems to have developed a knack for controversial comments, sparing not even Mahatma Gandhi when he called the father of nation in a 2015 Facebook post “a British agent who did great harm to India”. He also called Rabindranath Tagore a “loyal British stooge” and Subhas Chandra Bose “an agent of the Japanese fascist imperialists”. He eventually apologised.
In a blog, he called Mother Teresa a fanatic and fraud, and then in a series of tweets last year, he said former AAP convener Shazia Ilmi should have been BJP’s candidate for the chief minister’s post in Delhi because she’s “much more beautiful than Kiran Bedi”.
Back in 2012, he wrote “90 per cent of Indians are fools” and that this was “the unpleasant truth” while a year later, he called Pakistan a “fake country”.