Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first reaction to the Sanatana Dharma controversy, has said the remarks of Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin “needs proper response”. His response came a day after Udhayanidhi Stalin cited the Central government’s omission of an invite to President Droupadi Murmu for the inauguration of the new parliament as an example of discrimination by practitioners of Sanatana dharma.
The minister, the son of Chief Minister MK Stalin, has refused to apologise for his comment that Sanatana Dharma is akin to a disease and “should be eradicated”.
He has repeatedly said he is ready to face any legal action for his comments. There are reports that attempts are being made to get the Tamil Nadu Governor’s sanction to initiate action against him.
Over the weekend, Udhyanidhi Stalin triggered a huge controversy with his remark that “Sanatana (Dharma) is like malaria and dengue and so it must be eradicated and not opposed”.
It set off massive backlash on social media and prompted the BJP claim that it was equivalent to “a call for genocide”, which the DMK leader has denied.
The comment also put some allies of the new Opposition Bloc INDIA in a delicate spot ahead of a series of state elections by the year-end and the general election next year.
The Congress has taken a nuanced stance, saying all religions should be respected and people have right to express opinions. Younger leaders of the Congress like Priyank Kharge and Karti Chidambaram have backed Stalin Junior. So has CPM’s D Raja.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress have made their disapproval clear.