Bangladesh film star sorry after India poll expulsion

Ferdous Ahmad

DHAKA — A Bangladesh film star has apologized after he was expelled from India for taking part in election campaigning, but found support in his country's foreign minister who said the giant neighbor had overreacted.

Ferdous Ahmad has starred in more than 200 films, and was kicked out of India on Tuesday after campaigning for West Bengal state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a rival of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

India is currently voting in a mammoth national ballot being held over several phases, the second of which began on Thursday.

Ferdous, 45, said he respects Indian law and that foreigners should not take part in an election in another country.

"I apologize for my inadvertent mistake. I hope everyone concerned will forgive me," Ferdous said in the statement sent to local media.

Ferdous said he was driven by his love of the people of West Bengal where he made his film debut in a Bengali movie in 1997.

"What he (Ferdous) has done is regrettable," said Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K Abdul Momen.

"At the same time, the way the Indians are strongly reacting to it, I feel they are overreacting," the minister told the Dhaka Tribune newspaper.

Bangladesh has close ties with India, particularly with West Bengal, which borders the Muslim nation.

Film stars and directors from Dhaka and the West Bengal capital of Kolkata regularly collaborate to make movies for the Bengali speaking market of 250 million people straddling the two countries. — AFP