New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: A day after former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju faced criticism on social media for his comments on Odias on his Facebook page, Katju today begged an apology through OTV, Odisha’s No 1 news channel, for hurting sentiments of the people of Odisha.
Talking exclusively to OTV, Katju said, “I am begging apology if sentiments of the people are hurt. Besides, I am going to post an apology on the Facebook.”
He added, “People have got a wrong impression with the Facebook post, which was just a joke.”
He further said, “I have lots of respect to the people of Odisha. In fact, Dr KM Katju, my grandfather, was Governor of Odisha. I have also respect to chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his father late Biju Patnaik. I have been to the State many times and have seen Konark temple, Lingaraj Temple and Puri Temple.”
Defending his comments, Katju said, “Why there is so much talks of sentiment is hurt and all that? This is only childish and nothing else. Undoubtedly Odias have achieved a lot and I am praising them.”
Asking whether he knows about the history of Odisha, Katju said, “I confess that I do not know much about Odisha. I have to acquire a lot of knowledge about the State.”
He added, “I came to know about Emperor Kharavela much later.”
Katju further stated, “I would request people to send me literature so that I would learn about Odisha.”
He said, “At the age of 70, I believe I have to learn a lot.”
Admiring Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Katju said, “Recently I had visited Patnaik’s residence where he gave so much respect. I believe you have got a good Chief Minister.”
Commenting on the Facebook post where he had mentioned asking people not to file case against him, Katju said, “Due to a comment on Bihar on the Facebook, JD(U) leaders made a hue and cry and filed a sedition case against me. Therefore, I had written on the post asking not to file any case against me this time.”
He stated, “I would not visit Odisha unless and until I am not invited with due respect. I am happy staying at my home.”
Refuting charges of depression, Katju said, “I am not under any kind of depression and cannot put a zip on someone’s mouth.”
“I give my best wishes to people of Odisha,” he concluded.