Actor Prakash Raj has accused Union minister Anantkumar Hegde of inciting hate for saying that secular people do not have an “identity of their parental blood” and that the Constitution needs to be amended.

“I respect the Constitution, but the Constitution has changed according to the times on many occasions in the past and it will change in the future,” Hegde had said at an event in Yelburga taluk of Koppal district in Karnataka on Sunday. “We are here to change the Constitution.”

In an open letter to Hegde on Monday, Raj said secularism is about “respecting and accepting diverse religions”, and does not mean that a person does not identify with any religion or belief.

Raj said that the minister’s remarks were cheap, and asked him how he could stoop so low.

The actor had earlier spoken out against the Bharatiya Janata Party during the inaugural ceremony of the International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram on December 8. He had said that an agenda was being forced upon people. “It is not just creative voices, but just any form of dissent is being silenced,” he had said. “I talk to raise my voice, not because I belong to a political party, but as an artist, because I feel responsible to speak up. When you silence a voice, a louder voice will be born.”

Raj had also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence following journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder.

‘Sack Hegde immediately’

Dalit leader and Congress MLA Raju Algur said Hegde was “utterly unfit” to be an MP and the Centre should sack him immediately. Dalit leaders would file a case against Hegde, he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

He said the minister had shown disrespect to both the Constitution and its architect, Dalit icon BR Ambedkar.

“The Constitution is the best in the world in ensuring equality to all sections of society, which people like Hegde have kept opposing,” Algur said. “They have been conspiring for years to bring amendments to the Constitution to suit their needs and not for ensuring equality in society.”

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had criticised Hegde’s statement on Monday, saying the minister was “spitting venom”, and his comments exposed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s views on Ambedkar.