Not inviting President Droupadi Murmu to Parliament inauguration is an example of Sanatana discrimination: Udhayanidhi Stalin

Not inviting President Droupadi Murmu to Parliament inauguration is an example of Sanatana discrimination: Udhayanidhi Stalin

Amid the political uproar by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over his “eradicate Sanatana Dharma” remark and the demand for his apology, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and Tamil Nadu youth welfare and sports minister Udhayanidhi Stalin stood defiant on Tuesday, saying that the government not inviting President Droupadi Murmu for the inauguration of the new Parliament building was an example of the discrimination under the ‘Santana Dharma.’

“The President of India Droupadi Murmu was not invited for the inauguration of the Parliament. That is an example of Sanatana Dharma,” Udhayanidhi, the son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, told reporters on Tuesday night.

Earlier, in an apparent furtherance of his argument, he made a veiled reference to Mahabharat in his Teachers’ Day message on X (formerly Twitter).

“Teachers are incomparable people who always think only about the future generations. The bond between our Dravidian movement and teachers who preach virtue without asking for thumbs! It will continue forever. Happy Teacher’s Day,” he said in Tamil, in an apparent reference to Dronacharya, the teacher in Mahabharat who asked Eklavya, a tribal boy, for his thumb as an honorarium.

The controversy began on Saturday after Udhayanidhi, addressing a conference organised in Chennai by the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers Artists Association on the theme of ‘Eradication of Sanatana’, contended that Sanatan was against the idea of social justice and that it had to be eradicated.

“A 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 Sanatan. Rather opposing Sanatan it should be eradicated,” he said in Tamil.

BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya said that it was a call for genocide of those who follow Sanatana Dharma. On Sunday, Union home minister Amit Shah accused the opposition bloc INDIA (which includes the DMK) of “hating Hinduism” and “insulting India’s history and culture”.

While allies of the DMK in Tamil Nadu have backed Udhayanidhi, the other parties in the INDIA bloc such as the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have called for a nuanced approach. The Congress said the party respects all religions but every political party has the freedom to express their views.

On Tuesday, more than 200 former judges, bureaucrats and officers of the armed forces requested the Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud to take suo motu cognisance of the matter, saying that Udhayanidhi’s statement amount to hate speech, which “could incite communal disharmony and sectarian violence.”

“These remarks undeniably amount to hate speech against a large population of India and strikes at the very core of the Constitution of India which envisages Bharat as a secular nation,” the letter to the CJI said.

They also accused the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government of going against the Supreme Court’s judgments which had previously directed the state governments to take so motu action against any hate speech crime without waiting for any complaint. .

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Congress chief KS Alagiri described Udhayanidhi as a “young Periyar” (EV Ramaswamy, the father of the Dravidian movement who had opposed Sanatana Dharma).

“Are they suggesting that Sanatana Dharma, which classifies people as untouchables, must not be changed?” said Alagiri. “Udhayanidhi has the right to say it. His father, grandfather, party founder Anna, and Periyar have said the same. Are you (BJP) making a fuss because of the approaching elections? Amit Shah is using it to allege that the DMK and Congress are anti-Hindu.”

Reacting to Alagiri’s remark, BJP’s Tamil Nadu state vice president Narayanan Thirupathy said, “So now it is clear and proven that it is the conspiracy of the Congress with the DMK to demolish Hindu religion, that is, Sanatana Dharma in order to get the votes of the minority religion.”

Meanwhile, Tami Nadu’s opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) broke their silence over the issue on Tuesday.

AIADMK general secretary and leader of Opposition Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) termed it as the DMK’s diversionary tactics. “It is an irony that the DMK, which voted against Ramnath Kovind and Droupadi Murmu, who represent the marginalised section, in the Presidential elections, is now talking about social justice and against Sanatana Dharma. It is diversionary,” EPS said.

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