The police in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday lodged a first information report against state Congress chief Kamal Nath for spreading panic by referring to a coronavirus variant, B.1.617, as the “Indian variant”, the Hindustan Times reported.

The case has been registered under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 54 (punishment for false warning) of the Disaster Management Act, said Deputy Inspector General of Police Irshad Wali.

“Kamal Nath said corona started with Chinese variant but now it is [the] Indian variant of Covid-19 which is responsible for the second wave and many countries have suspended flights due to the Indian variant,” the FIR read. “Nath also said Indians who are working and studying in foreign countries are facing trouble due to it. But in real, foreign countries are trying to help India by sending important things to fight against the epidemic. Nath tried to misguide people and to create disturbance in the country.”

It said that the Congress leader had violated the norms of the World Health Organization, which had said that no variant of the virus should be named after a country, person, organisation or bird. The FIR also said that Nath tried to spread anarchy by telling Congress MLAs to start a fire to ensure justice for farmers.

The FIR was lodged on a complaint by state Medical Education Department Minister Vishwas Sarang and other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. Sarang said that Nath has insulted the country internationally and that he should be booked under sedition charges. “Nath and other Congressmen are trying to create unrest in India and Madhya Pradesh by doing dirty politics as they had done during the 1984 riots,” he said.

At a press conference, Nath had said that the virus was from China and is now being called the “Indian variant” of the coronavirus, reported The Indian Express. “Several presidents and prime ministers are calling it the Indian variant,” he had said.

After the FIR was registered, Nath said that people who lost their family members due to the shortage of oxygen, beds and other facilities during the second wave should also register an FIR against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other ministers. “People, who lost their family members due to Covid-19 and their deaths have not been included as Covid deaths, should also register an FIR against the CM and his Cabinet ministers.”

Nath told The Indian Express that the FIR was an “act of desperation” and claimed that any person who asks questions is booked as the government does not have answers. “When I said that 1.27 lakh people were cremated of which 80% are Covid deaths and the government does not agree with it, why don’t they come up with actual figures?” he asked.

In a tweet on Sunday, Nath again claimed that the official data on deaths due to Covid-19 in the state was quite low.

Earlier this month, the central government had objected to labelling the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant as the “Indian variant”, reported NDTV. It said the WHO had not used the term. The global health body also tweeted that viruses or variants should not be identified by the names of countries they were found in.