Actor Paresh Rawal caused huge controversy with a viral comment on Bengali while campaigning for the ruling BJP in Gujarat.
At a rally, he said the people of Gujarat would tolerate inflation but not the “Bangladeshis and Rohingyas” next door, using the “boiled fish” stereotype that angered Bangladeshis. In response to the backlash, he apologized today but made things worse.
“Gas cylinders are expensive, but their prices will come down. People will also find jobs. But what will happen if Rohingya immigrants and Bangladeshis start living around you, say in Delhi? What will you do with the cylinders? Cook fish for Bengalis?” Paresh Rawal said on Tuesday in Valsad, which voted in the first phase of the Gujarat election yesterday.
“Gujaratis can tolerate inflation but not this…the way they are abusive. One of them needs to wear a diaper over their mouth.”
The actor was apparently targeting Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rules the capital.
Many saw it as “hate speech” against Bangladeshis. Others described it as a “xenophobic dog whistle” against Bangladeshis and Rohingya.
“Bengalis don’t need you to ‘cook fish’ for them. Remember you also made your career in Maharashtra where we lovingly fed you dhokla and fafda. Withdraw and serve you in Gujarat BJP ordered to apologize to Bangladeshis for these despicable remarks,” said Saket Gokhale, spokesman for Bangladesh’s ruling Trinamool Congress.
Bengalis don’t need you to “cook fish” for them.
Remember you also made your career in Maharashtra where we fed you dhokla and fafda.
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) December 2, 2022
— Debangshu Bhattacharya Dev (@ItsYourDev) December 2, 2022
After a string of angry tweets, Paresh Rawal wrote an apology but ended up fueling the debate, claiming he was referring to “illegal people” when he used the term “Bengali”. Bangladeshis and Rohingya”.
“Of course fish is not a problem because Gujarati can cook and eat fish. But let me clarify – Bengali means illegal Bangladeshi and Rohingya. But if I hurt your feelings and Emotions, I do apologize (sic),” he posted.
Of course, fish is not a problem because Gujarati can cook and eat fish. But let me clarify in Bengali, I am referring to the illegal Bengali DESHI N ROHINGYA. But I still apologize if I hurt your feelings and emotions. 🙏 https://t.co/MQZ674wTzq
– Paresh Rawal (@SirPareshRawal) December 2, 2022
He once replied to a user asking for clarification: “Fish shouldn’t be the subject. He needs clarification.”
Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra was among those who applauded the actor and mocked his ill-advised “apology”.
“Actually, Kemchho Slapstickman needs no apology. The second part of cooking fish like a Bengali is ‘having a brain like a Bengali’, dude boy, more Nobel laureates than any other Indian state,” Trinamool Congress MP wrote.
In fact, Kemchho Slapstickman needs no apology.
The second part of Cook Fish like Bengalis is “Have Brains like Bengalis”
More Nobel laureates than any other Indian state, dude boys….
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) December 2, 2022
Leftist leader Mohammad Salim has filed a complaint with Kolkata police over Paresh Rawal’s remarks.
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