“Stalin’s Defense of Udhayanidhi’s ‘Eradicate Sanatan’ Remarks: Unpacking the Controversy Surrounding PM Modi”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin strongly defended his son Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks on the “Sanatan Dharma” (Hinduism) on Thursday, saying his aim is to end discriminatory practices.

In a sharp rebuttal to his cabinet colleague and son Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments on “Sanatan Dharma,” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said his goal was against principles that discriminate against Scheduled Castes, Tribes, and women. In a detailed statement, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader said many Indian leaders like Thanthai Periyar, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, and Babasaheb Ambedkar have spoken against regressive Sanatan beliefs that “legitimize discrimination based on birth.”

“Even as we are launching Chandrayaan to the moon, some continue to promote caste-based discrimination, emphasize social hierarchy based on the varna system, and refer to scriptures and other ancient textual evidence for their dogmatic assertions,” Stalin said.

Udhayanidhi specifically spoke out against oppressive ideologies and called for an end to practices based on these ideologies,” he added.

What is Udhayanidhi’s genuine perspective on Sanatan Dharma?

A major political controversy erupted earlier this month when a video of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin surfaced, where he called for the eradication of Sanatan Dharma (prohibited duties and ways of life in Hinduism) to establish social justice and equality. It ignited a heated discussion across various social media platforms.

The minister made the remarks in Tamil to the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association at their conference in Chennai last Saturday. We cannot oppose dengue, mosquitoes, or the coronavirus [COVID-19]; we must eliminate them. Similarly, we must eliminate Sanatan Dharma too. We shouldn’t merely oppose it; we should wipe it out entirely.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) initiated a blistering criticism against Udhayanidhi, alleging that he was responsible for provoking unrest, an accusation that Stalin promptly refuted as a concocted narrative.

The BJP-affiliated social media brigade has also widely spread this falsehood in northern states. However, it was necessary for central ministers and state chief ministers associated with the BJP to investigate what Mr. Udhayanidhi actually said before commenting on him,” Stalin said.

PM Modi’s comments and Stalin’s response, ₹10 crore reward

The Chief Minister took aim at the Uttar Pradesh government for not taking action against Sant Paramahans Acharya of Ayodhya, who had announced a reward of ₹10 crore to behead Udhayanidhi.

Responding to reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked his colleagues to take on falsehood and faith-related issues, Stalin said, “It is disappointing to hear from the national media in these circumstances that the Honorable Prime Minister has mentioned Udhayanidhi’s comments and that it is necessary for him to respond appropriately during his Cabinet meeting.”

The Prime Minister has full access to all relevant data for verifying any claim or report independently. So, is the Honorable Prime Minister speaking out of ignorance about the falsehoods spread against Udhayanidhi, or is he knowingly doing so?” questioned Stalin.

Stalin said it seemed that the opposition has perturbed Prime Minister Modi, who is proposing “one nation – one election” out of fear. “It is clear that the BJP is not really concerned about discriminatory practices in Sanatan but is eager to create divisions within the opposition alliance. He remarked that discerning it as a political maneuver doesn’t demand any political savvy.

Amid BJP’s strong criticism over the alleged comments against Sanatan Dharma, Udhayanidhi Stalin launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, saying, “Your (BJP) promises for the past nine years have all been empty promises. The whole nation is rising united against a stubborn, fascist BJP government. Against this backdrop, BJP leaders described my speech at the TNPDWAE conference as a ‘provocation for violence.’ They consider it a weapon for their security.”

In the context of the false claim made by the BJP that spread on social media, Stalin said, “Even in an atmosphere of widespread rumors and misinformation, people would have expected BJP’s leaders and the state’s chief ministers to verify what Mr. Udhayanidhi actually said before commenting.”

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