Former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju seems to have found his second coming as an internet troll. But in the wake of the Hathras rape-murder case in Uttar Pradesh, the man has emerged not only as deeply sexist and a "rape apologist" but also as insensitive to the problem of caste discrimination.
On Wednesday, Katju took to the social media platform Facebook and announced that he had formed an "association called the ‘Dalits against Reservation Association’" with the object to "persuade Dalits to demand the abolition of reservation as it is doing great harm to them". The Association will allegedly run with Katju as President and invites applications from interested candidates across castes and religion.
The bizarre announcement came hours after Katju announced that he will be giving an interview to the BBC regarding caste reservation. In a Facebook post announcing the same, Katju called caste-based reservations is a "vote-catching device" in India and that the only people benefiting from it were not those in need but politicians.
"Far from benefiting dalits and OBCs it has done great harm to them. It benefits only about 0.1% of those castes, that too of the ‘creamy layer’ (because the jobs and seats in educational institutions are too few ), but the SCs and OBCs are befooled into thinking that they will all benefit," Katju wrote.
He further added that "Dalits must realise that their path of social emancipation is by joining hands with the enlightened sections of the upper castes (and OBCs), not by isolation.
Needless to say, his posts were hugely criticised on social media, as was his announcement to form what many called an "anti-Dalit" association. Critics also pointed out the fact that Katju himself was neither Dalit not underprivileged, giving him no right to speak on behalf of the millions of SC/ST and OBC Idians who support the caste-based reservations, introduced by BR Ambedkar to further the Dalit community in India.
Katju has been all over the internet in the past week, starting with creepy comments to wome, justifying rape in a previous Facebook post where he said that men have the natural urge to have sex, which when coupled with unemployment, causes rape. The comments came hours after the nation was shocked by the gory details of the gangrape and death of a 19-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly raped by four Thakur men.
The incident, including the hurried and overnight cremation of the victim's body by cops in UP, has not only launched a debate regarding women's safety but also about caste-based violence and oppression that continues to thrive across the country.