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'India has never been a nation': DMK leader A Raja stokes row

The speech, delivered in Coimbatore on March 3 during a public meeting commemorating Chief Minister M K Stalin’s 72nd birthday, has now gone viral, prompting the BJP to demand Raja’s arrest and accusing the DMK and Congress of making 'abusing Hindu gods' a feature of their alliance's campaign.
Last Updated 05 March 2024, 14:46 IST

Chennai: Stirring yet another controversy that could embarrass and strain the I.N.D.I.A. alliance, DMK MP A Raja has claimed that India has never been “one nation” but is a “subcontinent” which is home to diverse practices and culture, while making disparaging comments on Lord Ram saying that Tamil Nadu will “not accept him.”

The speech, made in Coimbatore on March 3 while addressing a public meeting to commemorate Chief Minister M K Stalin’s 72nd birthday, has now gone viral, prompted the BJP to demand Raja’s arrest and accused the DMK and Congress of making "abusing Hindu gods" a feature of their alliance's campaign.

Raja, known for his fiery speeches which often landed him in controversies, is the latest from the DMK to cause embarrassment to the I.N.D.I.A. bloc after Udhayanidhi Stalin and Dayanidhi Maran who made controversial comments against Sanatana Dharma and north Indians. The comments come at a critical juncture as political parties gear up for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

In his speech, Raja, while accusing the BJP of trying to change the Constitution, said India was never “one nation” which means one language, one tradition, and one culture.

“India is a sub-continent, not a country. Because Tamil Nadu has a different language and it is one country. Kerala is one country, and Odisha is one country. Every place has its own culture. You go to Manipur and you will see people eating dog meat. It is their culture,” Raja said, demanding that every culture in India should be acknowledged and recognised.

In speeches made in Tirunelveli and other places in the last couple of days, Raja reiterated his stance that India is not a country but a sub-continent.

Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that there won’t be DMK after elections, Raja said, India won’t exist without DMK and asked the BJP not to play such games.

“They want to throw away the current Constitution. Why did I say there won’t be India? If you come to power, there won’t be a Constitution and if there is no Constitution, there is no India. If there is no India, Tamil Nadu won’t stay the same and we will secede. If DMK won’t be there after elections, there won’t be India. Are you playing a game?” he asked.

On BJP’s unitary policies and its accusation that the DMK is “anti-Hindu” and against Lord Ram, Raja said Tamil Nadu will never accept Jai Sriram or Bharat Mata. “If you say this is the god, if you say this is your Jai Sriram, if you say this is your Bharat Mata ki jai, we will never accept Jai Sriram or Bharat Mata. You go and tell, we are enemies of Ram,” Raja added.

Raja, the former Union Minister, said though he doesn’t believe in Ramayana, the epic’s Tamil version, Kamba Ramayanam, says there were four brothers, and accepted a kuravar and vetuvar as their brothers. “They accepted two monkeys as their fifth and sixth brothers. If this is called humanity in Ramayana, your Jai Sriram... idiots,” Raja added.

DMK’s ally, Congress, distanced itself from Raja’s comments, saying that Lord 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, I do not support it. I condemn it and I think people should exercise restraint while talking," Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said.

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(Published 05 March 2024, 14:46 IST)

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