Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that Hinduism and Hindutva are different things and called for exploring and understanding such differences, PTI reported.

Gandhi made the remarks while virtually addressing a party orientation programme at the Sewagram ashram in Maharashtra’s Wardha district.

“Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh, or a Muslim?” the Congress leader asked, according to NDTV. “Hindutva, of course, is. But is Hinduism about killing Akhlaq?”

Gandhi was referring to the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri district in 2015 following rumours that he and his family killed a calf and ate beef during Eid festivities.

His comments about Hindutva come after a controversy has erupted over party leader Salman Khurshid’s book, in which he has compared Hindutva with terror groups Islamic State and Boko Haram. Two lawyers in Delhi have filed complaints against Khurshid in this regard.

Gandhi on Friday added that he had read the Upanishads and that they do not speak of killing an innocent person.

He said that the Congress’ ideology is like a “beautiful jewel” but has been overshadowed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The BJP has overshadowed the loving, affectionate and nationalistic ideology of the Congress party,” Gandhi said, according to PTI. “Our ideology is alive and vibrant, but it has been overshadowed by the BJP,”

The Congress leader said that this situation prevails because of the “complete capture of the media and complete capture of the Indian nation”. He added that this was also because the Congress did not propagate its ideology aggressive.

“Now is the time to strengthen Congress ideology in its own organisation and spread its across India through party workers,” Gandhi said, adding that ideological training should be made mandatory for all Congress workers.

Responding to Gandhi’s remarks about Hindutva, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra said that it was in the nature of the Congress and the Gandhi family to attack Hinduism whenever they get a chance, ANI reported.

“When Salman Khurshid speaks against Hinduism, compares it with Boko Haram and ISIS, when Shashi Tharoor says Hindu Taliban or when it is called saffron terrorism, actually this is not a coincidence but an experiment,” Patra said. “And the biggest leader of this laboratory is Rahul Gandhi.”