A Kolkata court has summoned Congress MP Shashi Tharoor after a lawyer filed a case against him for claiming India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the Bharatiya Janata Party won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Advocate Sumeet Chowdhury said Tharoor’s statements had hurt religious sentiments and had insulted the constitution.

The court has asked the Thiruvananthapuram MP to appear before it on August 14, ABP reported.

Speaking in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, Tharoor had claimed: “If the BJP wins the 2019 Lok Sabha election, our democratic Constitution, as we understand it, will not survive as they will have all the elements they need to tear apart the Constitution of India and write a new one. That new one will be the one which will enshrine principles of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for minorities, that will create a Hindu Pakistan...”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had condemned Tharoor’s comments, and demanded that Congress President Rahul Gandhi apologise on his behalf.

After his comment drew flak on social media, Tharoor clarified his statement. He wrote on Facebook that the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s idea of a Hindu Rashtra is a “mirror image of Pakistan – a state with a dominant majority religion that seeks to put its minorities in a subordinate place”.

“Many proud Hindus like myself cherish the inclusive nature of our faith and have no desire to live, as our Pakistani neighbours are forced to, in an intolerant theocratic state,” Tharoor wrote. “We want to preserve India and not turn our beloved country into a Hindu version of Pakistan.”