The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said the state government should file a case against former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, who appeared to make fun of Biharis again when he wondered why they needed to assert they are not ‘fools’.
Taking a potshot at RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who once said in the Lok Sabha, “Hum moorakh nahin hain (I am not a fool),” Katju in a Facebook post late Saturday evening said, “I wonder why Biharis must assert this. I never heard anyone from any other state saying this.”
Katju, in a footnote, said it was only a joke and requested Biharis not to file a case against him. He recalled Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had got infuriated at a joke he cracked on Facebook, and JD (U) MLC Neeraj Kumar had filed an FIR against him.
“By these acts, they have proved they are Biharis,” he said.
Katju further said, “Many Biharis think one is insulting them by calling them Biharis. I never found a Tamilian who got hurt if I called him a Tamilian, or a Bengali if I call him a Bengali, or a Punjabi if I call him a Punjabi.”
Though there were over a thousand likes to Katju’s comments, Bihar’s politicians, however, did not take kindly to it.
Condemning Katju for his comments, leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly, Prem Kumar of the BJP said the former SC judge had insulted the 11.5 crore Biharis in the state and many others elsewhere in the country.
Urging Katju to desist from making such remarks, Kumar said the state government should file a case against him.
RJD national spokesperson Manoj Jha termed the post as outcome of a height of desperation on the part of Katju for staying in news. “He has been denigrating Bihar and its heritage… He desperately needs some job, some engagement… Earlier, most knew foot-in-mouth as a disease, but in case of Katju it’s an epidemic.”
In a sarcastic post late last month, Katju had suggested that Pakistan could get Kashmir if it agreed to take Bihar as part of a ‘package deal’. He wrote, “You have to take the whole package, or none at all. Either you take both Kashmir and Bihar, or nothing.”
Nitish Kumar had reacted to it, seeking to know if the former SC judge was “the mai baap (parents) and owner of Bihar.” The chief minister, however, did not name justice Katju at the public function where he said so, but there was little ambiguity about who he was referring to.
In response to this, Katju said he was not the ‘mai baap’ of Biharis but their ‘Shakuni mama’ (a negative character in epic Mahabharat).