Udhayanidhi Stalin, a Minister in the Tamil Nadu government, has been booked by Delhi police following a controversial remark he made about 'Sanatana Dharma.' The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader, who is also the son of Chief Minister MK Stalin, likened Sanatana Dharma to diseases like dengue and malaria and called for its eradication.
Delhi police have filed a complaint against Udhayanidhi under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act, citing his statement as "provocative, inciting, and defamatory against Sanatan Dharm."
The complaint was filed by Supreme Court Advocate and Social Activist Vineet Jindal, and it quickly ignited a fierce debate on social media. Many questioned Udhayanidhi's understanding of Sanatana Dharma and its deep-rooted ties to Tamil Nadu.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah took a firm stance, criticizing the opposition alliance for allegedly disrespecting Sanatana Dharma, "You (Opposition) want power but at what cost? You have been disrespecting the Sanatana Dharma and the culture and history of this country. The sons of a (former) Union finance minister and Tamil Nadu chief minister are claiming to end the Sanatana Dharma. Are you (public) ready to end the Sanatana Dharma?"
JP Nadda, the BJP National President, strongly criticized Udhayanidhi Stalin's comments on Sanatana Dharma. He expressed deep concern over the divisive nature of the remarks, emphasizing that such rhetoric is disrespectful and goes against India's cultural heritage. Nadda called for political leaders to be responsible and urged Udhayanidhi and the DMK to reconsider their statements in favor of policies promoting unity and inclusivity.
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticized Udhayanidhi Stalin for his remarks. She stated, "Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, who is sworn to uphold the Indian Constitution, made derogatory comments about Sanatan Dharma, likening it to mosquitoes. Surprisingly, Tamil Nadu Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments PK Sekar Babu sat silently on the stage, while the President of Tamil Nadu Congress openly declared their alliance's intent to undermine Sanatana Dharma," Sitharaman posted on X. She concluded with the phrase, "I.N.D.I.A against Hindus!"
Sworn by the Constitution of India, Minister @Udhaystalin calls for the eradication of Santana Dharma, “like mosquitoes”. On the dais, listening without protest is TN Minister for Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments @PKSekarbabu.— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) September 3, 2023
President @INCTamilNadu says purpose of… pic.twitter.com/ITi7yodx4H
The BJP's IT department in-charge, Amit Malviya, accused the DMK leader of advocating for the "genocide" of the 80 percent population that follows Sanatana Dharma.
Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of Tamilnadu CM MK Stalin, and a minister in the DMK Govt, has linked Sanatana Dharma to malaria and dengue… He is of the opinion that it must be eradicated and not merely opposed. In short, he is calling for genocide of 80% population of Bharat, who… pic.twitter.com/4G8TmdheFo— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) September 2, 2023
Union Minister Anurag Thakur also criticized the I.N.D.I.A alliance over Udhayanidhi's remarks, expressing concern about the level of hostility towards Hindus and Sanatana Dharma within the opposition alliance, which he termed 'GHAMANDIA.'
It is not surprising that DMK or any other party of GHAMANDIA alliance nourishes so much hate against Hindus and Sanatan Dharma to the extent of equating it with ‘dengue’ and ‘malaria’ and provoking others to eradicate Sanatan Dharma.— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) September 3, 2023
A name change from UPA to GHAMANDIA can’t…
Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai condemned Udhayanidhi's ideology and suggested that the DMK leader should express his frustrations differently. BJP Tamil Nadu vice president Narayanan Thirupathy referred to the DMK as a "cancer" and expressed confidence that his party would defeat them.
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju condemns opposition alliance for comparing Sanatan Dharma to diseases, stating, "We believe in 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat,' not 'Nafrat Ki Dukan'."
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi has strongly criticized Tamil Nadu minister and DMK leader Udayanidhi Stalin for his comments, labeling them as treasonous. Modi demanded Udayanidhi Stalin's arrest, stating that comparing Sanatana Dharma to diseases like dengue and malaria is unacceptable. He also called upon Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, to clarify their stance on the issue.
Former Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan also criticizes DMK leader's divisive remark, questions Nitish and Lalu's alliance stance in response.
In response to the backlash, Udhayanidhi clarified that, he did not advocate for the genocide of individuals following Sanatan Dharma. Instead, he views Sanatan Dharma as a principle that perpetuates division based on caste and religion, and he believes that uprooting it is synonymous with upholding humanity and human equality.
Udhayanidhi Stalin reaffirmed his commitment to his original statements, emphasizing that he spoke on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized individuals who suffer due to the influence of Sanatan Dharma. He expressed readiness to provide extensive writings from prominent figures like Periyar and Ambedkar, who conducted thorough research on Sanatan Dharma and its adverse impact on society.
Furthermore, he reiterated a crucial aspect of his speech, drawing a parallel between the spread of diseases like COVID-19, Dengue, and Malaria by mosquitoes and the societal issues he associates with Sanatan Dharma.
I never called for the genocide of people who are following Sanatan Dharma. Sanatan Dharma is a principle that divides people in the name of caste and religion. Uprooting Sanatan Dharma is upholding humanity and human equality.— Udhay (@Udhaystalin) September 2, 2023
I stand firmly by every word I have spoken. I spoke… https://t.co/Q31uVNdZVb
Prominent figures like Hindu scholar Dr. David Frawley and Hindu Mahasabha President Swami Chakrapani criticized Udhayanidhi's remarks, with Dr. Frawley emphasizing the rich history and cultural connections between Tamil Nadu and India that Sanatana Dharma represents.
Shehzad Poonawalla, BJP Spokesperson, characterized Udhayanidhi Stalin's statement as a "genocidal call," adding, "This is the long pattern of 'Sanatana Virodh'..."
Author Anand Ranganathan also weighed in, asserting that Sanatana Dharma is an enduring idea that cannot be eradicated, drawing parallels with historical attempts to suppress it. The controversy surrounding Udhayanidhi's remarks has clearly ignited a passionate discussion about the place of Sanatana Dharma in Tamil Nadu and India as a whole.
Saravanan Annadurai, DMK Joint Secretary, defended Udhayanidhi's statement, saying, "Our leader Udhayanidhi's statement has been twisted, taken out of context..."