Sanatana Dharma Controversy: The ongoing controversy surrounding the remarks on Sanatana Dharma by Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin has taken a new turn, with DMK Member of Parliament A Raja drawing parallels between Sanatana Dharma and diseases like HIV and leprosy.
Meanwhile, Jagdanand Singh, a prominent leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), has commented on the issue, criticizing those who wear religious tilaks (marks) and raising questions about India's history.
At a public event, A Raja made a statement that has added fuel to the already heated debate over Udhayanidhi Stalin's comments on Sanatana Dharma.
Raja compared Sanatana Dharma to diseases such as HIV and leprosy, emphasizing Udhayanidhi's previous comparison to malaria.
Raja argued, "These diseases don't have a social stigma. To be honest, leprosy was seen as disgusting, and so was HIV."
He urged people to view Sanatana Dharma in a similar light, as a belief system carrying social plights akin to HIV and leprosy.
Furthermore, A Raja expressed his readiness to engage in a debate on Sanatana Dharma with anyone, regardless of their numbers or weaponry.
Jagdanand Singh, the Pradesh Adhyaksh (State President) of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), weighed in on the controversy, targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
He criticized those who wear tilaks (marks) on their foreheads and accused them of enslaving India.
Singh stated, "Building temples or demolishing mosques won't work in this country. The nation won't be governed by dividing Hindus and Muslims."
The controversy began when Udhayanidhi Stalin attended the Sanatana Unmulan Sammelan (Conference for the Eradication of Sanatana Dharma) and made remarks against Sanatana Dharma.
He alleged that Sanatana Dharma opposes social justice and equality and called for its eradication. He compared it to diseases like coronavirus, malaria, and dengue fever, stating that these should not be opposed but rather destroyed.
These comments triggered strong reactions, with Amit Malviya, the in-charge of the BJP's IT department, accusing Udhayanidhi Stalin of advocating for the "genocide" of the 80 per cent of the population who follow Sanatana Dharma.
Udhayanidhi Stalin, the son of Chief Minister MK Stalin, rejected these accusations, emphasizing that the term 'Sanatana' comes from Sanskrit and means eternal, implying that it cannot be questioned or changed. He also criticized Sanatana Dharma for perpetuating caste divisions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened a meeting with his cabinet ministers, where he urged them to provide a factual response to Udhayanidhi Stalin's statements on Sanatana Dharma.
PM Modi also cautioned ministers against engaging in divisive rhetoric and emphasized the importance of addressing the issue with facts.
The BJP has directed criticism towards the opposition parties, particularly the India Alliance, accusing them of using Sanatana Dharma as a political tool for vote banks and divisive politics.
Home Minister Amit Shah, during a rally in Rajasthan, expressed concern about attempts to tarnish the culture, history, and beliefs associated with Sanatana Dharma. He called for respect for India's diverse heritage.