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Anti-Bengali comments: Calcutta HC gives Paresh Rawal protection from cohesive action

Kolkata, Feb 2 (IANS) Bollywood actor and BJP leader Paresh Rawal on Thursday heaved a shy of relief as a single-judge bench of Calcutta High Court granted him protection from cohesive action including arrest from Kolkata Police in the case filed against him for his anti-Bengali comments in December last year.

The case was filed against Rawal by CPI(M) politburo member and party’s state secretary in West Bengal Md Salim at Tiljala Police Station in Kolkata where the left leader had alleged that the comments made by the actor were meant to provoke riots and destroy the harmony between Bengalis and other communities across the country and cause public mischief.

“Gas cylinders are expensive but they will come down. People will get employment too. But what will happen if Rohingya migrants and Bangladeshis start living around you, like in Delhi? What will you do with gas cylinders? Cook fish for the Bengalis?,” the actor had said while campaigning for BJP in Gujarat at that point of time.

Following the complaint from Salim, the Tiljala police station summoned Rawal for questioning in December last year, which he skipped.

The actor appealed to the Calcutta High Court for relief from this summons. The matter came up for hearing at the single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha on Thursday and the judge granted him the protection from any cohesive action.

However, Justice Mantha directed Rawal to cooperate with the police in the interrogation process through video-conferencing.

After his comments in December last year drew severe criticisms, the veteran actor also tendered a public apology. “Of course, fish is not the issue as Gujaratis cook and eat fish. But, to be clear, I meant illegal Bangladeshis and Rohingyas. However, if I have offended your thoughts and views, I sincerely apologise,” he had tweeted then.