Jain Monk Says He Holds Nothing Against Dadlani, But Complainant Presses Ahead With Case

Complainant Puneet Arora says he is unconvinced by the musician's apology and will pursue matters in court.

Ambala: Vishal Dadlani – the singer whose tweets on the Haryana government’s decision to invite a Jain monk to address the legislative assembly led to a criminal case being filed against him – met the holy man in question in Chandigarh on Wednesday morning in Chandigarh to apologise for any offence he might have caused to him and the Jain community.

The monk, Muni Tarun Sagar, told Dadlani and reporters present that he held nothing against the musician. He also urged those who have filed cases against Dadlani to withdraw their complaints.

One particular complainant, however, is not convinced.

Muni Tarun Sagar was invited to speak at the opening of the Haryana assembly monsoon session. Delivering his “kadve vachan”, the monk, who in keeping with ascetic tradition of his faith wears no clothes, addressed a range of topics, from female foeticide to terrorism. This was the first event of its kind in the Vidhan Sabha.

Politics must always follow dharma, the monk had said, using the metaphor of a wife’s “duties” and “subservience” to her husband. “Rajniti par dharam ka ankush zaroori hai. Dharam pati hai, rajneeti patni. Har pati ki yeh duty hoti hai apni patni ko samrakshan de. Har patni ka dharam hota hai ki woh pati ke anushasan ko sweekar kare. Agar rajneeti par dharam ka ankush na ho toh woh magan-mast haathi ki tarah… ho jaati hai” (The control of dharma over politics is essential. Dharma is the husband, politics is the wife. It is the duty of every husband to protect his wife. It is the duty of every wife to accept the discipline of her husband. If there is no control of dharma over politics, it will be like an elephant out of control), Indian Express quoted him as saying.

The nature of his comments, as well as the fact that a religious leader had been asked to speak in the assembly, drew criticism from various quarters. Dadlani, who was a member of the Aam Aadmi Party at the time, was among those who took to social media to express his outrage, saying that religion and politics must be kept separate and that this was not “achhe din” but “kachhe din“, playing on the Hindi word for underwear. He also questioned the monk’s comments on women and said his educational level was the same as his clothes – none.

After realising that these tweets were hurting the sentiments of some Jains, Dadlani apologised and deleted them. He also quit the AAP after party leader Arvind Kejriwal distanced himself from the tweets. But he stuck to his point on the importance of not mixing religion with politics and governance.

Complaints have been filed against Dadlani for hurting religious sentiments in different parts of the country. These complaints have been criticised by many as an attack on free speech.

Dadlani is set to appear before the police in Ambala later today. A complaint was filed here against him for “hurting religious sentiments” by Puneet Arora.

Speaking to The Wire after the monk’s statement this morning, Arora said the case “was no longer in his hands and would be decided by the court”.

“I have filed a complaint against two people, Dadlani and Tehseen Poonawalla, for their offensive tweets. Only one of them has apologised. And why is he apologising now? He had to come to Ambala anyway so stopped in Chandigarh to make a show of it.”

“Also, Dadlani’s comments were offensive to many people, including the governor and others present in the Vidhan Sabha. He should apologise to all of those people. And then the case will be decided by the court. I cannot say anything else now as the matter is sub judice,” Arora said.

He will not be retracting his complaint, he added.

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