Swaraj Abhiyan founder Prashant Bhushan on Sunday stoked controversy by calling Krishna a “legendary eve-teaser” while criticising the Uttar Pradesh government’s “anti-Romeo squads”. Bhushan wrote, “Romeo loved just one lady, while Krishna was a legendary Eve teaser. Would Adityanath have the guts to call his vigilantes AntiKrishna squads?” Predictably, this led to calls for Bhushan’s arrest for insulting a Hindu god.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi spokesperson Tajinder Pal S Bagga called for a police complaint against the former Aam Aadmi Party leader, later posting a copy of his letter to the Tilak Marg Police Station. Bhushan hastened to explain his comment, adding,“My tweet on Romeo brigade being distorted. My position is: By the logic of Romeo Brigade, even Lord Krishna would look like eve teaser.”

Bhushan’s first tweet was a response to a tweet by another Swaraj Abhiyan member Anupam, who had tweeted, “Anti Romeo Squad: India’s tribute to Shakespeare! Won’t b surprised if England, to fight eveteasing, forms Anti Krishn Squad in retaliation!”

Soon after the Hindutva hardliner Adityanath took charge as Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister in March, the state police announced that it would form “anti-Romeo squads”, fulfilling a campaign promise made by the BJP to prevent instances of “eve-teasing”. However, this has led to a large number of couples and sometimes even cousins being harassed on the pretext of protecting women. On Saturday, the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government said they were thinking of following UP’s lead and instituting “anti-Romeo squads” of their own.

The phrase “eve-teasing” is a widely used euphemism for sexual harassment in India.