Udhayanidhi’s remarks on Sanatana Dharma trigger political row

Speaking at the launch of the BJP’s ‘Parivartan Yatra’ at Dungrpur in poll-bound Rajastahan on Sunday, Home Minister Amit Shah accuses the DMK and its ally the Congress of “insulting Sanatana Dharma” for vote bank politics

September 03, 2023 08:35 pm | Updated September 04, 2023 01:35 pm IST - CHENNAI/NEW DELHI

Udhayanidhi Stalin. File

Udhayanidhi Stalin. File | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

Tamil Nadu Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments calling for the “eradication of Sanatana Dharma”, has triggered a political row. At a conference organised by the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers Artists Association in Chennai on Saturday, September 2, 2023 he had said a few things could not be opposed but had to be eradicated. “Just like dengue, mosquitoes, malaria, or coronavirus need to be eradicated, we have to eradicate Sanatana,” he said.

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Reacting sharply at the launch of the BJP’s ‘Parivartan Yatra’ at Dungrpur in poll-bound Rajastahan on Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused the DMK and its ally the Congress of “insulting Sanatana Dharma” for vote bank politics. Citing Congress MP Karti P Chidambaram’s defence of Mr. Udhayanidhi, he alleged that these were clear calls by them for the abolition of Sanatana Dharma.

“These people have talked about Sanatana Dharma for votebank appeasement. They have insulted (Sanatana Dharma),” he charged. Dubbing the INDIA bloc as “ghamandiya gathbandhan” (haughty alliance), Mr. Shah said it could go to any extent for vote bank politics but the more they talked against Sanatana Dharma, the less they would be visible.

“They say that if Modi wins, Sanatana rule will come. Sanatana is ruling the hearts of the people. Modi has said the country will run on the basis of the Constitution,” Mr. Shah said, adding that the Prime Minister had worked to secure the nation.

Meanwhile, responding to BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya’s claim that he had called for “genocide of 80% of India’s population”, Mr. Udhayanidhi clarified that he never called for a genocide of those following Sanatana Dharma.

In post on X, formerly Twitter, he said: “Sanatana Dharma is a principle that divides people in the name of caste and religion. Uprooting it is upholding humanity and human equality. I stand firmly by every word I have spoken. I spoke on behalf of the oppressed and marginalised who suffer due to Sanatana Dharma.”

He was ready to present the extensive writings of late social reformer Periyar E.V. Ramasamy and B.R. Ambedkar, who he said conducted in-depth research on Sanatana Dharma and its negative impact on society, in any forum.

Mr. Udhayanidhi said: “Let me reiterate the crucial aspect of my speech: I believe, like the spread of diseases like COVID-19, dengue, and malaria by mosquitoes, that Sanatan Dharma is responsible for many social evils.”

“I am prepared to confront any challenges that come my way, whether in a court of law or the people’s court,” he added, urging Mr. Malviya to stop spreading fake news.

Replying to another post threatening legal action, Mr. Udhayanidhi said: “We will not be cowed down by such usual saffron threats. We, the followers of Periyar, Anna, and Kalaignar, would fight forever to uphold social justice and establish an egalitarian society under the able guidance of our Hon’ble CM @mkstalin. I will say it today, tomorrow, and forever: Our resolve to stop Sanathana Dharma from the Dravidian land would not reduce even a bit.”

Coming to his aid, Mr. Karti had argued that in the common parlance of Tamil Nadu, Sanathana Dharma means a caste hierarchical society. “There was no call for ‘genocide’ against anyone, this is a mischievous spin,” he clarified in a post.

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