Tharoor says sorry for his 'cattle class' tweet

Tharoor

Facing an all-round attack for his "cattle class" remark, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has apologised for it, saying that he meant no disrespect to to economy class travellers.

"It's a silly expression but meant no disrespect to economy travellers, only to airlines for herding us in like cattle. Many have misunderstood," the Minister of State for External Affairs said in a posting on social networking site 'Twitter' from Liberia, where he was on a visit.

"I am told it sounds worse in Malayalam, especially out of context. To those hurt by the belief that my repeating the phrase showed contempt: sorry," he said.

His remark that he would travel "cattle class in solidarity with all our holy cows", also in a Twitter posting, had came in the backdrop of an austerity drive in the Government and in Congress. The comment had been strongly rebuked by the party.

The Opposition BJP and JD (U), while slamming his comment, had said he did not deserve to be a minister for his "insensitive" remark on economy class travellers. In his apology, Tharoor said, "I now realise I shouldn't assume people will appreciate humour. And you shouldn't give those who would wilfully distort your words an opportunity to do so."

He said he had "learned belatedly of fuss" over his tweet while replying to a journalist's query whether he would travel to Kerala in "cattle class".

The Minister said it was the journalist's phrase that he had repeated.

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