Bhubaneswar: After stirring a controversy for his anti-Odia comments, former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju on Friday tendered his apology to the people of Odisha.
“If Odia people are feeling hurt I apologize. I had no intention to hurt their feelings, and was only joking, just as I had joked about Biharis, Tamilians, etc.,” said Katju on his Facebook post.
He further said, “I have great respect for Odia people and of their great achievements. When I went to Odisha, where I have been many times, I marvelled at the sight of the Konarak and Lingaraj temples.”
“My grandfather, Dr. K.N. Katju had been Governor of Odisha in 1947, and I have strong ties with the state. On my last visit, I met the Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik, who gave me a lot of respect. So I apologize again if anyone’s feelings have been hurt,” said the former apex court judge.
He hoped that people of Odisha would be large-hearted enough to let him enter the state after the apology.
Notably, there was a widespread protest against Katju following his anti-Odia comments. Leaders of different political parties and other sections of society reacted sharply to the statements.
Katju’s remark has sparked criticism from across the state as banners and effigies of the former apex court judge were burned at several places of Puri and Bhubaneswar.
In Puri, the activists of ‘Jagannath Sena’ staged a protest in front of Jagannath Mandir and burned his effigy. In Bhubaneswar, a life-size effigy was burnt at the Master Canteen Chhak.