It is the Constitution and not the Manusmriti that governs the nation, and the era of deceiving people by trying to rake up controversy over such a "non-issue" is over, BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief L Murugan asserted on Sunday. His remarks came a day after Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) chief Thol Thirumavalavan staged a protest here seeking a ban on 'Manusmriti' alleging it denigrated women.
"Where is Manusmriti?" the BJP leader said, adding it is not followed anywhere and hence "has no relevance in this day and age". The Constitution by Babasaheb Ambedkar is being followed after the nation's independence, the BJP leader told reporters and wondered for how long Tamil people would be hoodwinked by attempting to create a row over 'Manusmriti'.
In the past, the ideological parent body of Dravidian parties, the Dravidar Kazhagam, had burnt Manusmriti copies, alleging it went against social justice. The Manusmriti is an ancient text on codes of conduct for society. It has often been criticised for being a proponent of caste system.
"For how long will you deceive the poor people and the youth from the Scheduled Castes? The era when people were deceived is over. Practically, see what is being followed," Murugan said. The youth should not be misled and, instead, they must be led in a constructive manner by political parties, the BJP leader said.
He pointed to contentious aspects like the authenticity of the verses quoted by the VCK to claim that the ancient Hindu text demeaned women. Be it the Hindu religion or ancient Tamil literature, women are revered, and Vijayadasami festival too honoured divinity in the form of women, the BJP leader said.
Without naming Thirumavalavan and parties like DMK that supported him over the issue, he said those who belittled women by their comment and leaders who had lent support to the remark would be "taken care of" by women at the right time. On Friday, a video clip of the VCK chief went viral in which he had purportedly used a word linking it to Manusmriti. It triggered a controversy with Hindu outfits alleging that Thirumavalavan's comment denigrated women and went against Hinduism.
The BJP has demanded an apology from him. The VCK leader, however, denied he denigrated women and insisted he was working for their emancipation.
Following a complaint, a case has been registered against Thirumavalavan by police. Led by the VCK founder leader, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, party cadres held a protest here on Saturday seeking a ban on Manusmriti alleging it spoke ill of women.
Some party men also burnt "copies" of the ancient text. To a question on Pattali Makkal Katchi's demand for a 20 percent exclusive reservation for the Vanniyar community, Murugan said it should be considered and provided by the government.
He also urged Governor Banwarilal Purohit to give his assent to the bill providing a 7.5 percent reservation for government school students who clear the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in medical admissions.