In a recent turn of events, Udhayanidhi Stalin, a prominent figure in Tamil Nadu politics, a seasoned actor, filmmaker, and the son of the state’s Chief Minister, MK Stalin, has found himself at the center of a burgeoning controversy. His remarks on Sanatana Dharma have set off a firestorm of debate, with the question of whether he is a hero or a Hitler now looming large. Udhayanidhi Stalin, the grandson of the legendary Karunanidhi, also serves as the Youth and Sports Minister in Tamil Nadu, adding an additional layer of significance to the unfolding situation.
Controversial Remarks Ignite Outrage
The controversy began when an FIR was registered against Udhayanidhi Stalin in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, under sections 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different religious groups) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The FIR stemmed from remarks made by Udhayanidhi that were perceived as derogatory toward Sanatana Dharma, following a complaint filed by lawyers Harsh Gupta and Ram Singh Lodhi, who claimed that his comments had hurt their religious sentiments.
Furthermore, members of the Hindu Mahasabha filed a complaint against Udhayanidhi Stalin in Lucknow, demanding legal action against him. Rishi Trivedi, the state president of Hindu Mahasabha, expressed outrage over Udhayanidhi’s comparison of Sanatana Dharma to diseases like dengue and malaria, emphasizing that such remarks had caused anger among Hindus and saints.
Political Reactions Vary
Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks have elicited varying reactions within the political sphere. Some members of the INDIA alliance distanced themselves from his comments, while others offered their support. Congress leaders also expressed differing opinions, with some, like Karti Chidambaram, supporting Udhayanidhi’s statement, while others, like Karan Singh, vehemently opposed it.
Tamil Nadu Congress leader Karti Chidambaram supported the DMK leader, stating that Sanatana Dharma is a code for a caste hierarchical society. He criticized those advocating for it and claimed that caste is a curse on India. Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge, the son of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, also appeared to support Udhayanidhi’s remark, asserting that any religion not promoting equality is akin to a disease.
However, the Trinamool Congress distanced itself from the controversy, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressing her respect for Sanatana Dharma.
BJP Strongly Condemns and Calls for Legal Action
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has strongly condemned Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda leading the charge. The BJP likened his comments to Hitler’s characterization of Jews and announced plans for a nationwide campaign against him. The party labeled Udhayanidhi’s comments as hate speech and a call for the eradication of Sanatana Dharma, garnering criticism from the Congress and INDIA Alliance.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy even threatened to work for the dismissal of the Tamil Nadu government if Udhayanidhi repeated his controversial statements.
Call for Suo Motu Contempt Notice by Former Judges and Bureaucrats
A group of 262 citizens, including former high court judges and bureaucrats, has written to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, urging him to take suo moto notice of contempt against Udhayanidhi Stalin. They labeled his remarks as “hate speech” capable of inciting communal disharmony and sectarian violence. The signatories expressed concern over the Tamil Nadu government’s refusal to take action against Udhayanidhi Stalin.
Udhayanidhi Stalin Stands Firm Amid Controversy
Despite the growing controversy, Udhayanidhi Stalin remains resolute, declaring his readiness to face any legal challenge. He affirmed his commitment to upholding social justice and equality while receiving both support and condemnation for his comments.
In a statement, Udhaynidhi clarified that he never called for the genocide of people following Sanatana Dharma but criticized its divisive aspects. He likened it to the spread of diseases like COVID-19, Dengue, and Malaria, stating that Sanatana Dharma is responsible for many social evils.
Filmmaker Pa Ranjith Expresses Solidarity with Udhayanidhi
Renowned filmmaker Pa Ranjith has come out in support of Udhayanidhi Stalin amid the ongoing controversy. He stated that Udhayanidhi’s call for the abolishment of Sanatana Dharma aligns with the core principles of the anti-caste movement and the ideologies of leaders like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Thantai Periyar. Ranjith expressed dismay at the distortion of Udhayanidhi’s statement and the growing hatred directed at him.
Malaysian Hindu Sangam Protests
The Malaysia Hindu Sangam, a prominent Hindu organization, expressed deep concern and condemnation of Udayanidhi Stalin’s remarks on Hindu Sanatana Dharma. They urged him to remain impartial as a minister and not promote beliefs that could incite hatred and anger among Hindus worldwide.
Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Background
Udhayanidhi Stalin, the only son of DMK chief MK Stalin, ventured into the Tamil film industry in 2008 as a producer. He has a family history deeply intertwined with both cinema and politics. Despite facing controversy, he has continued his political career and currently serves as the Youth and Sports Minister in Tamil Nadu.
As the situation surrounding Udhayanidhi Stalin unfolds, it raises important questions about freedom of expression, religious sensitivity, and the intersection of politics and religion in India. The political, legal, and social ramifications of this controversy are yet to fully unfold.