The controversial Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sakshi Maharaj was booked on Saturday for “a veiled attack on the Muslim community”, blaming it for the “population explosion” in India, The Indian Expressreported.

He was addressing sant sammelan, a religious gathering of Hindus clerics, held at Augharnath Temple in Meerut on Friday.

A case has been registered in Meerut against Sakshi under many clauses of the Indian Penal Code, such as Section 298, which says any person who utters “words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person” shall be punished.

He said, “Those with four wives and 40 children are responsible for the population increase in the country. Hindus are not responsible for the increase in population.”

“Strict laws are required in this country if we really want to control population. Parties need to rise above politics and take decision for the sake of the country,” the BJP parliamentarian added.

The remark created much uproar in the poll-bound state of Uttar Pradesh, especially from opposition parties.

While the Election Commission sought a report from the Meerut district administration, the BJP distanced itself from Sakshi’s statement.

The Indian Express quoted Congress leader KC Mittal as saying that Sakshi’s speech was “offensive” as it was based on caste and religion, and went against the recent Supreme Court judgement that reportedly prohibits Indian politicians from using peoples’ religion or caste to garner their votes.

“It is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and Congress is officially filing a complaint against him with the Election Commission,” he said.