A controversy broke out on Wednesday after a video showed the junior Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt, Vijayendra Saraswati, sitting through Tamil Nadu’s state song Tamil Thai Vazhthu at an event in Chennai. Many Twitter users shared pictures of Vijayendra Saraswati standing for the national anthem, but not the state song.

The religious leader was attending an event organised on Tuesday for the release of a Tamil-Sanskrit dictionary at the Music Academy in the state’s Capital. The dictionary was compiled by Late Professsor S Hariharan, the father of Bharatiya Janata Party’s National Secretary H Raja, The News Minute reported on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, H Raja and other dignitaries are seen standing up for the Tamil anthem. It is mandatory in Tamil Nadu to play and stand for Tamil Thai Vazhthu at the beginning of every state function.

In a clarification, the Kanchi Mutt has said that Vijayendra Saraswati was meditating when the anthem was playing, News18 reported.

Political parties too criticised the 70th Shankaracharya Guru of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham as the video made rounds on social media. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Working President MK Stalin said Vijayendra Saraswati had disrespected the Tamil anthem. “It calls for a serious condemnation and I condemn on the behalf of the DMK,” Stalin said. “It is very sad that this insult to Tamil anthem happened in front of the governor. His explanation that he was meditating is a lame excuse. If that is the case, why didn’t he meditate during the national anthem.”

Communist Party of India’s state secretary Mutharasan alleged that the religious leader had deliberately insulted the anthem. “Vijayendra Saraswati should seek unconditional apology for the insult he has heaped to Tamil and the anthem. If he really wanted to meditate, he should have finished meditation and then attended the function.”

Vijayendra Saraswati also faced backlash on social media.