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Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan
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Friday, 29 December, 2000, 06:47 GMT
Nepalese 'to sue' Bollywood star
Nepalese police in Kathmandu
Police were involved in bloody clashes with protesters
A leading Nepalese cultural group in India says it will sue the Indian film star Hrithik Roshan for allegedly making anti-Nepalese comments, reports say.

Rajgopal Bhandari, head of the All India Nepali Language Council, intends bringing the case to the Calcutta High Court next week, according to the AFP news agency.

I have never spoken against Nepal and why should I?

Hrithik Roshan

Mr Roshan vehemently denies claims that he said he "hated Nepal and the Nepalese people" in an interview two weeks ago.

The controversy has led to clashes between protesters and police in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, in which four people have died.

No right

"Roshan may be a big star but that does not give him the right to insult and hurt our sentiments," Mr Bhandari said.

And he called on Nepalese citizens living in India to demonstrate outside cinemas showing Mr Roshan's films.

On Thursday Kathmandu's streets were deserted, and shops and restaurants closed in protest against the Bollywood heart-throb who is alleged to have made the derogatory remarks about Nepal in a television interview.

Mr Roshan says he wants to tell the Nepalese people that he loves them.

He told the BBC he would not apologise for something he had not done, but was upset at the violence.

Kathmandu protest
On Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators burnt tyres in the streets of Kathmandu and attacked shops, some of them owned by Indians.

Cinemas and cable operators have stopped screening Hindi films while the Government of Nepal appealed for calm.

Indian concern

The Indian Government has reacted strongly against the violence and said the protests were carefully orchestrated "by elements inimical to Indo-Nepalese friendship to create an atmosphere of hatred and distrust".

The foreign office in Delhi summoned the charge d'affaires of the Nepalese embassy to express its concern.

And Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has spoken to his Nepalese counterpart, Girija Prasad Koirala, over the matter.

Nepal violence
Indian businesses have been attacked
The Bollywood star said he was completely baffled by the controversy.

"I have never spoken against Nepal and why should I? I love the Nepalese people just as much as I love the Indian people," he said.

Hrithik Roshan's hit film, Kaho Na Pyar Hai (Say You Love Me), ran for weeks in many cinemas this year.

Hindi films and Bollywood stars are very popular in Nepal, but some of them have been embroiled in controversy in recent years.

Last year, actress Madhuri Dixit apologised after an uproar over her remarks that Nepal was a part of India.

Following similar protests 30 years ago, the films of the then superstar, Dharmendra, were banned in Nepal and they are still not screened.

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