Lighthearted comments by a Bangladeshi actress and a senior minister have led to a fresh bout of controversy this week.
Actress Apu Sarkar was at her exuberant best at a cultural programme in Barpeta when she shouted on the microphone: “Across the world, we proudly identify ourselves as Bengalis.”
Then she added to the discomfiture of many locals: “I can see you all here are from Bangladesh, your roots are there.”
Even those with roots in the neighbouring country were not amused by Apu’s comment.
“She will only add to our trouble,” said local businessman Sabur Ali.
On Tuesday, a similar lighthearted comment by Bangladesh’s commerce minister Tipu Munshi left the BJP embarrassed.
Munshi said Tripura chief minister Biplab Deb was ‘half Bangladeshi’ and “his heart was in Bangladesh though he was physically in India”.
He was delivering a speech at the two-day India-Bangladesh stakeholders meeting at the Radisson Blu hotel in Guwahati.
Deb, who makes no secret of his close ties with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and ruling Awami League leaders, was unfazed.
But BJP leaders, worried over the Opposition making an issue of Deb’s ‘doubtful’ Indian nationality, were left embarrassed.