Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju on Saturday sparked off another controversy by saying that ''India is not a full-fledged democracy as 90 per cent of its people vote like sheep and cattle.''
The retired Supreme Court judge, while speaking to a TV channel, said: “ Ninety per cent of Indians vote in droves like sheep and cattle. They are like a herd of cattle voting along caste and religious lines…because Indians vote like livestock, there are so many criminals in parliament.”
The former judge did not stop there. He said he does not vote in elections as candidates in India win on the basis of their caste. “I won’t vote because my vote is meaningless. Votes are cast in the name of Jats, Muslims, Yadavs or Harijans. Democracy is not meant to be run like this. Why should I waste my time in joining the cattle queue?”
The retired judge, who was at times the target of attack by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said he was against communal forces and “by being secular, if I am branded a Congressman, you are entitled to your view.”
The statement comes in the wake of the controversy he touched off recently by seeking pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt.
In a near-similar comment, Katju said in December 2012 that “90 per cent of Indians are idiots” who could easily be taken for a ride, and fall prey to communal incitement. He was then forced to explain himself to two law students who sent him a legal notice.
An article he wrote targeting Narendra Modi made the BJP angry and it sought an apology. Katju had written: “The truth today is that Muslims in Gujarat are terrorised and afraid that if they speak out against the horrors of 2002 they may be attacked and victimised. In the whole of India, Muslims (who are over 200 million) are solidly against Modi, though there are a handful of Muslims who for some reason disagree.”
Earlier, journalists, too, have come in the line of fire when he said that he “has a dim view of journalists.”
Noting that journalists in general have “very poor intellectual level,” Katju had said in 2011: “The general rut is very low and I have a poor opinion of most media people. Frankly, I don’t think they have much knowledge of economic theory or political science or literature or philosophy. I don’t think they have studied all this.”
He incurred the wrath of journalists again as he recently set up a committee to fix minimum qualification for mediapersons to enter the profession.