Late on Wednesday evening (13 November), one of the leading trends on social media was the uproar over the remarks by the Member of Parliament (MP) from Chidambaram constituency in Tamil Nadu, Thol Thirumavalavan.
The Lok Sabha MP, who fought the elections in alliance with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), made an uncharitable reference to temples. He is the founder of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), which claims to fight for the rights of the Scheduled Castes.
In a video that was circulated on WhatsApp, Thirumavalavan can be seen addressing a meeting for “opposing Sanatana Dharma education policies” and telling the audience that “if the building has a dome, it is a mosque; if it is tall and straight, it is a church; and if it has dirty idols/dolls, it is a temple”.
The audience, too, laps it up, applauding the statement.
Quite a few on social media demanded the arrest of the Chidambaram MP.
Some even wondered why no action was being taken on Thirumavalavan when Indu Makkal Katchi (IMK) founder, Arjun Sampath, was arrested for just draping a Thiruvalluvar statue with a saffron shawl and then garlanding it with a rudraksha.
Another wanted Thirumavalavan to be booked for “deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage feelings by insulting the religion or religious beliefs”.
One person even came up with a photograph of Thirumavalavan taking part in the consecration of a temple, wondering if he would "risk telling the Hindus that he doesn't need their votes".
A Tamil Nadu Congress leader, Americai V Narayanan, tweeted that he had conveyed his grief to Thirumavalavan over his statement and the latter had regretted it saying he had made “it in a flow”.
Thirumavalavan has been critical of Hindusim in the past too, though he has been seen backtracking from it. On one occasion, he said he advocates conversion before he retracted saying he didn’t.
Though the Chidambaram MP has reportedly regretted the “flow” of his speech, some on social media have sought a public apology.
Skeptics, however, say that Thirumavalavan is a habitual offender and he would likely come up with similar statements in the future.
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