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DMK's Raja sparks major row with remarks on India, Ram

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: March 06, 2024 01:26 IST
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A controversy erupted on Tuesday over Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader A Raja's purported remarks that 'India has never been a nation' and that he and his party were not concerned if they were dubbed as 'enemies of Ram', drawing condemnation from the Bharatiya Janata Party that termed the comments as 'hate speech' and demanded his arrest.

IMAGE: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP A Raja. Photograph: ANI Photo

In a video on social media, Raja also purportedly said that when the Bilkis Bano case convicts walked out of the prison after the Gujarat government released them, BJP workers raised 'Jai Sri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' slogans to greet them.

He asked if they (BJP workers) were not ashamed to do so.

He said for him, his party and leaders, including late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, there was no anger against God if it was all about showing love and compassion and serving the poor.


"However, if the 'Jai Sri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' slogans meant fundamentalism, we will never accept that Jai Sri Ram and Bharat Mata, Tamil Nadu will never accept that," he said.

Without naming the BJP, Raja indicated that he was not concerned even if he and his party were to be dubbed as 'enemies of Lord Ram' for making this statement (that they will not accept Jai Sri Ram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai) and went on to elucidate his stand by quoting from the Kamba Ramayana.

Lashing out at the opposition parties' Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) over purported remarks of Raja, the BJP said insulting India's ethos publicly and humiliating Hindu gods has become the hallmark of their political agenda.

Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, senior party leader and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad noted that Raja, a Lok Sabha member in his latest speech in Tamil has said 'India is not a nation. Understand this well. India is never a nation. One nation means one language, one tradition, one culture. Then, only it is a nation. India is not a nation but a sub-continent'.

"This is Maoist ideology," Prasad alleged.

Prasad further quoted Raja who said in his speech 'if this is your Jai Shri Ram, if this is your Bharat Mata Ki Jai, we will never accept that Jai Shri Ram and Bharat Mata... You go and tell (that) we are enemies of Ram'.

"We vehemently condemn such remarks," Prasad said and demanded that the Congress and other INDIA bloc constituents come out and clarify if they agree with the DMK leader's remarks.

DMK's ally, Congress too slammed the Raja for the purported remarks and asserted that one should exercise restraint while speaking.

Raja, who is seen addressing a meeting organised by his party, purportedly said, "India is not a (one) nation. Understand this well. India has never been one nation. One nation denotes one language, one tradition and one culture and only such characteristics make one nation."

Claiming that India is not a nation, but a subcontinent Raja said, "What's the reason? Here, Tamil is one nation and one country. Malayalam is one language, one nation and one country. Oriya is one nation, one language and one country. All such national races constitute India. So, India is not a country, it is a subcontinent that has various practices, traditions and cultures."

Further, he said states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Odisha, have respective local cultures. "In Manipur, dog meat is eaten, which is a cultural aspect. In Kashmir, there is one culture. Every culture has to be recognised. If a community eats beef, recognise it, what is your problem? Did they ask you to eat? So, (that is) unity in diversity. We have differences and it has to be acknowledged."

Reacting strongly, BJP in-charge of IT Cell, Amit Malviya, who posted the video on X, said, 'The hate speeches from DMK's stable continue unabated. After Udhayanidhi Stalin's call to annihilate Sanatan Dharma, it is now A Raja who calls for Balkanisation of India, derides Bhagwan Ram, makes disparaging comments on Manipuris and questions the idea of India, as a nation.'

'Congress and other I.N.D.I Alliance partners are quiet. Rahul Gandhi, their putative Prime Ministerial candidate's silence is eloquent,' he added.

Tamil Nadu state BJP spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathy told PTI Videos that Raja should be arrested.

It was the 'duty' of Chief Minister M K Stalin, 'who has taken oath under the Constitution of India that he will abide by the rules and laws of the country, to take action and arrest Mr Raja', for the comments he is alleged to have made, the BJP leader demanded.

When asked about Raja's remarks, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, "I 100 per cent disagree with his remarks. From this platform, I condemn such a statement. I believe Ram belongs to everyone and is all-encompassing."

"I believe that Ram, who was called Imam-e-Hind, is above communities, religions and castes. Ram is an ideal of living life. Ram is dignity, Ram is ethics, Ram is love. I completely condemn this statement, it could be his (Raja's) statement, (but) I do not support it. I condemn it and I think people should exercise restraint while talking," she said at a press conference in Delhi.

In the Video, Raja also quoted popular Tamil verses from the 'Kamba Ramayana' like 'Guhanodu Aivar Aanom' and said, in essence, according to the Kamba Ramayana, Lord Ram stood for brotherhood and harmony.

He said though he had no faith in Lord Ram and Ramayana, the Kamba Ramayana showed that Lord Ram transcended narrow boundaries like caste and creed and that God epitomised harmony and brotherhood.

For such reasons, the 'Jai Sri Ram' slogan of the Right-wing forces deserved to be dismissed as political rhetoric, Raja noted.

The BJP had no answer to questions over a slew of issues like the Hindenburg report, the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for all the issues, the 'only answers are 'Jai Sri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', he claimed in the video.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.