Former Supreme Court justice Markandey Katju was on Tuesday widely criticised by politicians and the public for a Facebook post offering Pakistan a “package deal” of Kashmir and Bihar, The Times of India reported. The post on Sunday said Islamabad could take Kashmir, “but on the condition you also take Bihar...You have to take the whole package, or none at all,” Katju wrote. He further joked that Pakistan had refused a similar offer by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the 2001 Agra summit between the two neighbours.
The ruling Janata Dal(United) party in Bihar called Katju’s comments seditious and demanded stern action against him, according to the Hindustan Times. Party general secretary KC Tyagi called his post “insensitive”, and “intolerant”. Bihar Bharatiya Janata Party chief VN Jha called for the former justice’s arrest on sedition charges. He also demanded an inquiry to investigate if Katju was “entrapped among anti-nationals out to destroy India’s sovereignty and integrity”.
A section of the public also criticised the former judge on social media. “I think we should offer Pakistan Mr Katju alone,” said one Saurabh Yadav on Facebook. Another post by a GK Singh said Katju had a “pathetic sense of humour”. “It would have been better if you would have included yourself as a free gift with that deal,” Singh added. Katju later apologised, but said that most people in India “lack a sense of humour”, according to Firstpost.