Several officials from a Tamil Nadu government department filed a complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja to Chennai’s police commissioner on Wednesday for making derogatory remarks against their family members. A similar complaint has also been filed in Tiruppur.

The complaint was filed by employees of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department. At a recent meeting in Dindigul district’s Vedachandur, Raja had allegedly called officials of the department corrupt and said it was equivalent to selling their womenfolk for money.

The department is responsible for managing temples in the state.

“HR&CE officials are selling temple lands to private people by taking bribes,” The Times of India quoted him as saying. “It is equivalent to selling their family women for money.” He also alleged that many temples in the state, owned by the department, are not functioning properly.

The employees also urged Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan to file a case against Raja for calling them Maoists and anti-nationals.

“We are daily dealing with public at several temples,” the petition said. “We are responsible to keep temples clean and save statues and other properties. But in recent times, we have been accused of corruption. We want to work independently without any interference.”

Many employees walked out of their offices across the state on Tuesday demanding action against Raja. Protests were held in Chennai, Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Erode districts.

“We can bear any comments against us, but not against our families and the women at home,” P Bharathi, secretary of Tamil Nadu Aranilayathurai Anaithu Sangangalin Kootamaipu, said, according to The Hindu. “If, as government staff, we have made mistakes, legal action can be taken against us. But passing personal remarks is definitely not called for.”

The association’s president NL Sridharan added that they have planned a hunger strike on September 27 to condemn the speech.