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Udhayanidhi row: Cong says it respects all religions, others free to express their views

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NEW DELHI, Sept 4: Amid different voices within the Congress and INDIA bloc on DMK leader
Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks against Sanatan Dharma, the principal opposition party on Monday said 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 the Hindu religion. Union Minister Anurag Thakur alleged that INDIA
alliance was stooping to “politics of polarisation”.
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said while the Congress’ 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.

Asked about the issue, Karnataka minister and Congress leader Priyank Kharge said 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, who is
the son of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, said.
Congress leader and former Union minister Karan Singh, however, termed the DMK leader’s statement
as “preposterous” and “most unfortunate”.
“Thiru Udhayanidhi’s preposterous statement that Sanatan Dharma should be eradicated is most
unfortunate. Crores of people in this country follow, to a lesser or greater extent the tenets of Sanatan
“Besides, the greatest Sanatan Dharma temples in the world are in Tamil Nadu – in Thanjavur, in
Srirangam, in Thiruvannamalai, in Chidambaram, in Madurai, in Suchindram, in Rameshwaram and many
more,” Singh said in a statement.
“It is shocking that a responsible politician should make this kind of a totally unacceptable statement. I
have the highest regard for the magnificent Tamil culture but I take strong objection to the statement
made by Thiru Udhayanidhi,” he said.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi attacked the BJP, accusing it of showing “fake concern” over
Sanatan Dharm for its politics and termed it as hypocrisy.
“Sanatan Dharm stands for eternal truth – the way to live life- the conscience & being. Sanatanis have
long withstood attacks by invaders to end their identity yet they have not just survived but thrived.
“The country’s bedrock, which is linked to Sanatan Dharm, has been of inclusiveness of all faiths and
identities. Anyone making derogatory comments against it is ignorant of what it stands for,” she said on
“Also, the fake concern shown by BJP over Sanatan Dharm for their politics exposes their sick hypocrisy
while they are brutally lathi charging sanatanis who are fighting for their rights in Maharashtra, they
lathi-charged warkaris,” she said.
Alleging that Sanatana Dharma is against equality and social justice, DMK youth wing secretary and
Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin had said it should be eradicated.
“BJP is doing marketing of the word ‘Sanatan’. They are playing with the sentiments of the people in the
name of religion,” Samajwadi Party leader Swamy Prasad Maurya said on the furore over the DMK
leader’s remarks.
“BJP’s own allies have disrespected Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman, they are nobody to distribute
certificates of either nationalism or devotion,” Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi alleged.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders demanded that the DMK leader apologise for his comments.
The party on Monday intensified its attack on the issue, asking the Congress if the INDIA bloc had met in
Mumbai to target the religion and stressed that they should not play with Hindu sentiments.
Udhayanidhi Stalin had likened Sanatana Dharma to coronavirus, malaria and dengue and had said such
things should not be opposed but destroyed.
He referred to Sanatana Dharma as ‘Sanatanam’ in his address in Tamil at a meet of the Tamil Nadu
Progressive Writers and Artists Association here on Saturday.
“What is Sanatanam? The very name is only from Sanskrit. Sanatan is against equality and social justice
and nothing else,” he said
“They are misinterpreting the speech made by Udhayanidhi Stalin because he is the last person to do
that and we don’t believe in genocide,” DMK leader RS Bharathi said.
Union Minister and BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje demanded that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin
should immediately sack Udhayanidhi.
Karandlaje told reporters, “chief minister Stalin’s son talking like this…we felt very sad. Our country is
connected to religion and temples.

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“He (Udhayanidhi) holds a responsible position and his father is chief minister… What is he speaking?
What does he think?” (PTI)

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