Actor and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Paresh Rawal on Friday apologised for his statement regarding the Bengali community during a poll rally in Gujarat’s Valsad.
Rawal had remarked that the residents of Gujarat could tolerate inflation, but not Rohingya migrants living next door. He also asked whether people would “cook fish for the Bengalis” with their gas connections.
“If gas cylinders get expensive, they will become cheaper again,” the former BJP MP from the Ahmedabad East constituency said. “If inflation goes up, it will come down. People will get employment too. But what if Rohingya migrants and Bangladeshis start living around you, like in Delhi?”
He had further said: “What will you do with the gas cylinders? First cook fish for the Bengalis?”
Rawal’s remarks were criticised by many members of the Bengali community and others on social media.
On Friday, Rawal apologised for hurting the sentiments of the community.
“Of course the fish is not the issue as Gujaratis do cook and eat fish,” he said in reply to a user on Twitter. “But let me clarify – by Bengali I meant illegal Bangladeshi and Rohingya. But still if I have hurt your feelings and sentiments, I do apologise.”
However, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Salim filed a police complaint against Rawal in Kolkata. Salim has accused the actor-politician of promoting hatred against Bengalis.
“Such speech on public domain has been made to provoke riots and destroy harmony between Bengali community and other communities across the country, and cause public mischief,” the CPI(M) leader said. He claimed that the comments insinuated that all Bengalis are “foreigners and/or illegal immigrants”.