Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary Mohammad Salim on December 2 filed a police complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Paresh Rawal for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Bengalis.
“A large number of Bengalis reside outside the limits of the State. I apprehend that many of them will be prejudicially targeted and/or affected because of the vicious remarks made by Paresh Rawal,” said an email addressed by Mr. Salim to the Officer in Charge, Taltala Police Station.
Mr. Salim said that the remarks made by the BJP MP are bound to “provoke riots and destroy harmony” between Bengalis and members of other communities in the country. “In fact the innuendo and/or insinuation made in the said speech as regards all Bengalis being foreigners and/or illegal immigrants is bound to arouse feelings of hatred, ill will amongst other communities against Bengalis,” the CPI(M) leader said in his complaint.
Mr. Rawal allegedly made the controversial remarks at a public meeting during the Gujarat election campaign. “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?… What will you do with the gas cylinders? First cook fish for the Bengalis?” he was heard saying.
The BJP leader took to Twitter to clarify his remarks. “By Bengali, I meant illegal Bangladeshi n [and] Rohingya. But still if I have hurt your feelings and sentiments I do apologise,” he tweeted.
However, the controversy has refused to die down. “Insensitivity Is ingrained in BJP! Unable to tackle inflation and rising prices of essential commodities, @BJP4India resorted to personal attacks and attempted to demean the people of Bengal,” the Trinamool Congress tweeted from its official handle.
“Yes, we Bengalis eat fish. Why do you have a problem with that? Remember that the national anthem you sing was written by a Bengali,“ State Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim said.