‘I will repeat it,' says Udhayanidhi Stalin as ‘Sanatan Dharma’ row intensifies

BJP accuses INDIA bloc of being anti-Hindu

DMK youth wing secretary and Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin addresses an event in Chennai on Sept 2 | PTI DMK youth wing secretary and Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin addresses an event in Chennai on Sept 2 | PTI

Unfazed by the raging controversy over his remarks on Sanatan Dharma, Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin said on Monday that he would repeat the same thing and that he had included all religions, not just Hindus.

"The day before yesterday I spoke at a function about it (Sanatana Dharma). Whatever I said, I'll repeat the same thing again and again...I included all the religions and not just Hindus...I spoke condemning the caste differences that's all," the DMK leader said.

Addressing a meeting of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association in Chennai on Saturday, Udhayanidhi, son of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, had allegedly likened Sanatan Dharma to coronavirus, malaria and dengue and said such things should not be opposed but destroyed.

"Few things cannot be opposed, that should be abolished only. We can't oppose Dengue, Mosquitoes, Malaria, or Corona, we have to eradicate this. That's how we have to eradicate Sanatana. Rather opposing Sanatana it should be eradicated,” he had said.

Later, clarifying his remarks, Udhayanidhi said he had not called for the genocide of people who are following the Sanatan Dharma, but reiterated that this principle divides people in the name of caste and religion.

His remarks sparked off a political outrage with the BJP accusing the opposition INDIA alliance, of which the DMK is a major partner, of being anti-Hindu.

"There is a need to give a befitting reply to those who insult Sanatan Dharma. Give them a reply, not through violence but through votes. These people have made it a drama,” Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said. He was addressing a public rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch.

Other union ministers, including Arjun Ram Meghwal, Prahlad Patel, Dharmendra Pradhan and Anurag Thakur, also took on the opposition alliance and asked it not to play with Hindu sentiments.

"Why are opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee silent? Are you playing with Hindu sentiments for votes? They should know that hundreds of years of Islamic rule could not exterminate Sanatan Dharma and British imperialism could not dilute it," asked former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Congress distanced itself from Udhayanidhi’s remark with AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal asserting that the party ideology of respecting all religions was very clear.

"Actually, our view is very clear - 'Sarvadharma Sambhav' (equal respect to all religions) is the Congress ideology. But, you have to understand that every political party has its own freedom to tell their views," he said.

Terming the DMK leader's statement as "preposterous" and "most unfortunate", former Union minister Karan Singh said,"Thiru Udhayanidhi's preposterous statement that Sanatan Dharma should be eradicated is most unfortunate. Crores of people in this country follow, to a lesser or greater extent the tenets of Sanatan Dharma."

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said no one should not be involved in any matter which might hurt people.

"I have high regards and respect for the people of Tamil Nadu and south India. But my humble request is respect all, as every religion has separate sentiments. India is a secular and democratic country. India is about unity in diversity," she said.

Meanwhile, a Muzaffarpur-based lawyer has filed a complaint against the Tamil Nadu minister in a Bihar court, alleging that his remarks have hurt Hindu sentiments.

Advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha sought the trial of the Tamil Nadu CM and his son under sections of the Indian Penal Code.

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