FIR against Udhayanidhi Stalin, Priyank Kharge in Uttar Pradesh over ‘Sanatana Dharma row’

Udhayanidhi Stalin's comments sparked a backlash from political parties, with BJP insisting on the Congress to condemn his remarks.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 06, 2023 | 11:47 AMUpdatedSep 06, 2023 | 11:48 AM

Udhayanidhi Stalin and Priyank Kharge

Following Udhayanidhi Stalin’s call to “eradicate Sanatana”, an FIR was filed, on Wednesday, 6 September, in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, against the DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Sports minister as well as Karnataka minister for RDPR, IT&BT, Priyank Kharge, for allegedly ‘inciting religious sentiment’. 

Priyank Kharge was booked for backing Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remark, the police said.

The two were booked under sections 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different religious groups) of the IPC at Civil Lines Police Station in Rampur, on Tuesday.  

The FIR came following the complaint of lawyers Harsh Gupta and Ram Singh Lodhi, who highlighted media reports on Udhayanidhi Stalin’s statement alleging that the politician’s comments had hurt their religious feelings.

Also Read: Sanatana must be eradicated, like dengue, says Udhayanidhi Stalin

The remarks

Udhayanidhi Stalin on Saturday, 2 September, during an event in Tamil Nadu compared the Sanatan Dharma with diseases like dengue and malaria. 

The DMK scion, drawing parallels between Sanatana Dharma and diseases, has left even the Opposition bloc of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) divided, evoking varied reactions from leaders of alliance parties.

Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge, reacting to Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks said that any religion that does not give equal rights is not a religion and “is as good as a disease”.

“Any religion that does not promote equality, any religion that doesn’t ensure that you have the dignity of being a human being is not a religion, according to me. So it is as good as a disease,” Priyank Kharge said.

Related: BJP outrage over Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks

BJP accuses INDIA of targeting Hinduism

His comments sparked a backlash from political parties, with BJP insisting on the Congress to condemn his remarks.

The BJP also asked the Congress if the INDIA bloc had met in Mumbai to target the religion and stressed that they should not 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 Sanatana Dharma and British imperialism could not dilute it,” said former Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

A petition was filed before a court in Bihar on Monday, 4 September, against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and his son Udhayanidhi Stalin over the latter’s controversial remarks against Sanatana Dharma.

The petitioner reportedly asked the court to take cognisance of the matter and order a probe against father and son.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders in Delhi sought an apology from Udhayanidhi for his comments and submitted a protest letter to the state’s resident commissioner in New Delhi.

“Leaders of the Opposition INDIA bloc parties, including the AAP and its chief Arvind Kejriwal, should clear their stand on Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks,” Sachdeva said.

Union Minister and BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje, on Monday, demanded that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin immediately sack state minister Udhayanidhi Stalin over his comments.

The remarks made by Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi are “insulting” Sanatana Hindu dharma, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said.

Also Read: DMK complains against Malviya over ‘genocide’ tweet on Udhayanidhi

Congress response

However, the Congress said that it respects all religions and stressed that others also have the freedom to express their views.

The Congress’ reaction came as the BJP questioned the silence of its leaders on the issue and accused the Opposition bloc of being against Hinduism. Union minister Anurag Thakur alleged that the INDIA alliance was stooping to “politics of polarization”.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary KC Venugopal said that while the Congress’s stand is clear, every other political party has the freedom to express its own view.

“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.

“We are respecting everybody’s beliefs,” the Congress leader said.

(With PTI inputs)