A day after FIR was lodged against Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin and Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge, DMK leader A. Raja fuelled the controversy over 'Sanatan Dharma' by comparing it to HIV and leprosy.
While speaking at a protest meeting against Vishwakarma Yojana organised by Dravidar Kazhagam in Chennai on Thursday, Raja said that "there is neither a sense of disgust associated with malaria and dengue nor were they considered a social disgrace. What is looked upon with disgust was leprosy in the past and HIV in recent times...As far as we are concerned, it should be looked upon as a disease which is a social disgrace like HIV and leprosy," Raja was quoted by Times of India.
Meanwhile, BJP said that Raja's remarks was "outrageous and vitriolic". Union minister and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan said that Raja's comments reflect the INDIA bloc's "mental bankruptcy" and "deep-rooted Hinduphobia".
He also said that Udhayanidhi Stalin was soft when he compared it to dengue and malaria.
Earlier, Raja had said that he was ready to give answers to all cabinet ministers if the prime minister permits him.
After an FIR was registered, Priyank Kharge on Thursday said that his statement did not intend to hurt the sentiments of any religion.
He also criticised BJP for twisting his statement. "My statement was not against any religion that discriminates between human beings is not a religion. I follow the Constitution. my religion is the Constitution. If they want to file an FIR against me or they want to arrest me, it is up to the individuals, I really don't care," Kharge was quoted by ANI.
“All I have said is that the Constitution is my religion...These people do not understand Kannada, Hindi or English. Let them file as many FIRs as they want, they are free to do so,” he said.
In the backdrop of the ‘Sanatana Dharma’ heating up, Udayanidhi Stalin released a statement saying that he will face all cases legally. He said that the BJP is using Sanatana to divert attention from Manipur and other major issues.
An FIR was lodged against Stalin and Kharge under Section 153 A (promoting enmity between different religious groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Speaking a seminar in Chennai last week, Udhayanidhi Satlin compared the Sanatana Dharma with diseases like dengue and malaria and had said it should not be merely opposed but "eradicated".
While, Priyank Kharge had said that any religion that does not promote equality is as good as a disease.
"Any religion that does not promote equality or does not ensure that you have the dignity of being human is not a religion, according to me. Any religion that does not give equal rights or treat you like humans is as good as a disease," Kharge had said.