The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district on Tuesday filed a case against Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin and Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge on charges of hurting religious sentiments, PTI reported.

Stalin was booked for his statement last week that sanatana dharma – a term often associated with Hinduism – must be eradicated. Kharge has been booked for supporting the remark.

The first information report has been filed under Sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code. The case was lodged on the basis of a complaint by lawyers Harsh Gupta and Ram Singh Lodhi.

The complaint alleged that Stalin made the remark to intentionally hurt the sentiments of a religious group.

On September 2, Udhayanidhi Stalin, the son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, had said that sanatana dharma must be eradicated as it is against the idea of social justice.

“Few things cannot be opposed, they should be abolished,” he had said. “We can’t oppose dengue, mosquitoes, malaria or corona [Covid-19], we have to eradicate them. In the same way, we have to eradicate sanatana [dharma], rather than opposing it.”

Stalin later denied that he called for a genocide of Hindus. He claimed that sanatana dharma is a principle that divides people in the basis of caste and religion and that uprooting it would symbolise upholding humanity and human equality.

On September 4, Kharge supported Stalin’s statement and said: “Any religion that does not promote equality or does not ensure you have the dignity of being human is not religion, according to me... Any religion that does not give equal rights or does not treat you like humans is as good as disease.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party had alleged that the Tamil Nadu minister was calling for a “genocide” of Hindus.

Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai, however, accused Udhayanidhi Stalin of peddling a “bought-out idea from Christian missionaries”.

“The idea of those missionaries was to cultivate dimwits like you to parrot their malicious ideology,” Annamalai wrote. “Tamil Nadu is a land of spiritualism. The best you can do is to hold a mic in an event like this and rant out your frustration.”

Union Home Minister said that Stalin’s remarks showed that the Opposition’s INDIA alliance “hates Hinduism” and that the statement was “an attack on our heritage”.