Penalize Udhayanidhi

Despite the country’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court (SC), warning over hate speeches, two members of the Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.) bloc appear to have dared to challenge it, intentionally or otherwise. The apex court abundantly made it clear that it would not hesitate to take such statements suo moto. If in a video, a Jharkhand Congress leader was seen taking oath from people to disrespect Hindu deities, then Tamil Nadu (TN) Chief Minister MK Stalin’s son and Youth Welfare and Sports Development Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin went to the extent of saying that the Sanathan Dharma is against equality and social justice and must be eradicated like mosquitoes, stirring a political storm. Taking cognizance of these two issues, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came down heavily on the I.N.D.I.A. bloc and wondered whether the SC would take the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Minister’s statement suo moto and initiate action. Or else, the BJP appears determined to knock on the court’s doors.

While the Jharkhand Congress leader’s video which went viral on social media may be given the benefit of the doubt knowing well of technological manipulations, Udhayanidhi’s elaborate and written statement, that too at a function purportedly organized at the state Endowments Department,  where even other ministers were present, seems legally indefensible. He was quoted in the media saying, “Sanathan Dharma is like malaria and dengue and so it must be eradicated and not opposed.”  If this was not hate-mongering against one faith which has 80 per cent of the country’s population, then what else is? It falls in the purview of the apex court, which appears concerned over the rise in hate-mongering across the country. Ironically, the hatred towards Sanathan Dharma has become a fashion among the intelligentsia, especially creative minds like the filmmakers. All this has gone unnoticed till the emergence of social media which has brought down hatred against Hinduism per se or Sanathan Dharma in a larger perspective, by spreading awareness among the people as well as institutions. Of course, the electronic media had also shown the visuals in their news broadcasts. This prompted a SC lawyer to file a complaint on Sunday with Delhi Police against Udhayanidhi. Senior BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, also criticized Udhayanidhi, his father and their party. Interestingly, the DMK defended its member’s statement arguing that Sanathan Dharma encourages caste and sect division and the party was opposed to it. Does that mean there is no casteism or sect divisions in Islam and Christianity? If Islam has Shia and Sunni sects, then Christianity too has Catholics and Protestants, besides many other sub-sects in these two religions.

One may wonder who has been blamed for dividing the society on caste and religion – the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) or the 28-party I.N.D.I.A. bloc? Till the BJP stormed in to power in 2014, the Congress and other regional parties indeed were winning elections repeatedly both at the national and state level with their minority appeasement politics. This is an undeniable fact and it is still being practised openly and was evident from the recent Karnataka polls, where the Congress party’s ‘guarantees’ like revoking the previous BJP government’s ban on Muslim reservations, which violates the Constitution, or withdrawing its rule of preventing hijab in educational institutions, helped it to wrest power. And the Muslim clerics boasted that their community members voted en masse to Congress for not only fulfilling these two promises, but also for sharing power in the government. It is another matter that their demand for deputy chief ministership and two cabinet berths was turned down by Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah.

Coming to hate-mongering, it is now clear that it is the I.N.D.I.A. bloc members who visibly provoke the ruling BJP to counter and hold briefs for the Hindus or those who follow and practice Sanathan Dharma. Also, the Opposition can accuse the BJP of plans to polarize the electorate on religious basis ahead of the general elections. Does such an ill-found accusation stick, even after its members spread hate speech to divide the society? In that context, one genuinely feels that the BJP as a responsible dispensation at the Centre should restrain itself, instead of retaliating, and leave it to the apex court, which has taken cognizance of  hate speeches across the country, to act. Many law-abiding, educated and tolerant citizens expect the apex court to take punitive action against the motor-mouths like Udhayanidhi. The SC should ban these hate-mongers for a decade, if not a lifetime, from their appearances in public life, as a deterrent to spreading the menace like a pandemic. And the junior Stalin deserves such a ban as he has become a chronic abuser of Hinduism or Sanathan Dharma, of late.