The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said that it has filed a complaint against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP A Raja for saying that Hindus are Shudras and untouchables, The Hindu reported. The statements could instigate communal violence, the Hindutva party said.

At a meeting of Dravidar Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, Raja said that everybody was a Shudra till they decide to stay a Hindu. “You are the son of a prostitute till you remain as Shudra,” he said. “You are a Panchaman [Dalit] till you remain a Hindu. You are an untouchable till you remain a Hindu.”

He also asked how many persons wished to remain children of prostitutes or untouchables. “Only if we are vocal about these questions, it will become elemental in breaking Sanathana [dharma],” he said.

The MP added that Shudras were insulted in Manusmriti and denied equality, education, employment and entry into temples.

Manusmriti is a Hindu scripture authored by an ascetic named Manu. The text has been widely criticised for its gender and caste-based codes. Among the sections on social classes in the text, the one on Shudras is the shortest. Artisans and labourers are associated with the class.

Raja claimed that the Supreme Court had ruled that if one is not a Christian, Muslim or Persian, then one has to be a Hindu. “Is there any other country meting out such cruelty?” he asked.

It was not clear which judgement he was referring to.

BJP Tamil Nadu Vice President Karu Nagarajan said that Raja’s statements were defamatory. In his complaint, Nagarajan alleged that Raju wanted to destroy the religious beliefs of Hindus, who constitute 85% of Tamil Nadu’s population, The Hindu reported.

A person who became an MP by winning the votes of the Hindus was making such statements that went against democratic principles, Nagarajan said.