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View point Tapal

Posted in View Point

Published on July 04, 2014 with No Comments


Any leader worth his or her name would have thrown this man out of the party and police authorities in any other country would have started proceedings against him. But neither Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee nor the police authorities have bothered to move an inch.

Amid widespread infuriation in India over a series of recent case of rapes, the Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal is facing calls to quit after he was captured on video threatening rape of his political rivals’ relatives. Tapas could be clearly heard bragging of his ability to order attacks against his opponents.  “If CPIM [Communist party of India-Marxist] tries to kill and intimidate our workers … I will not spare them. I will let loose my men to rape your women,” he said in an address to followers in late May and video recording done on a smartphone has gone viral in India and so have the reactions.

Very little has been done to send a strong message to the rapists and the case of rape remain almost a daily affair in India.   The law makers too are facing charges; minister of state in Narendra Modi government Nihal Chand the lone MP from Rajasthan to get a berth is one such case, 35 Members of Parliament have charges of rape against them and assertion of MP Tapas does show the attitude of the elected representatives.   Tapas Pal, who is film star in the Kolkata-based movie industry, when corned by leading TV channels from India used his political experience at twisting words and histrionics  of his acting career to carry out damage control while claiming that he had been misquoted, “I never said rape. I said raid. I said they should raid all the people and places, including women and old,” while refusing to apologize. In yet another smart move, Tapas who was intimidating party workers to attack and rape women, took shelter of a woman. Nandini Pal wife of Tapas, apologized for her husband’s controversial comment and tried presenting another aspect of the story, “I apologize for his comment. Of course there is no question of supporting it. But yes I know there is another part of the story, which provoked him to do that. The entire incident had happened long back, what led to such a thing there is another part of the story,” Nandini told reporters in India.

It took the party supermo good three day to break her silence. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee  described  Tapas Pal’s hate speech as a “big blunder”, but then wondered if she should “kill him” for this.  “It is not just a mistake, its big blunder. It is an individual’s utterance. What do you want? Should I kill him?  What can I do? Whatever I can do we can do it through our policy”, Banerjee told reporters. With such a kind of brazen stance by the party leader , can the police be expected to do anything worthwhile? As expected the cops have remained silent spectators to what can be best described as a suo motto case in which there is enough evidence of threatening and intimidating and propagating the crime of rape, hatred against women. Hence, TMC finds itself in a quandary, the party seems to be have accepted that Pal has managed to score a point that only takes the party deeper into a whirlpool of controversies. Hence, the party had to adopt a “different” approach. Instead of the usual excuses-‘misquoted’, ‘we will send the tape for verification’ etc that political parties often use to shield their irrepressible talks when caught on the wrong foot. The TMC quickly distanced itself from the episode, saying that it did not endorse Pal’s views and demanded an explanation in writing from Tapas Pal. Pressed by media and women action group for action, Mamata Banerjee came out with “blunder”  and “ kill him” comment.

TMC MPs and other leaders have in the past too made certain offensive remarks publicly and got away without even a rap on the knuckles. On the issue of violence against women, Ms Banerjee has been found singularly wanting, even saying that such acts were part of the Left’s plot to tarnish her name.

The lawmakers in India seem to have an ‘I-care-a-damn-attitude’ when it comes to making gender-insensitive comments.  Pal, however, is not the only one on that ever-expanding list: there are old warhorses like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Abu Azmi, RR Patil who have often made derogatory comments against women ostensibly to ‘reach out’ to their male constituents. And who can forget the famous ‘dented and painted’ comment by a certain Abhijeet Mukherjee after the December 16 rape case in Delhi?

India brought in tougher laws last year against sex offenders after the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012, but they have failed to stem the tide of violence against women across the country, perhaps the rapist need no more motivation to know the true colors of the lawmakers.

Tapas Pal has insulted women of the entire India. Immediate action should be taken against him. The best way now to control the damage would be to pull out this overly aggressive fellow from all kinds of political and party activities and charges pressed against him; and the TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien may be directed to explain the finesse of his words, “Sensitive use of language is an obligation for role models in culture, politics and society. If that code is breached, public trust is lost”, to Tapas Mal and induce some sense the erring MP.




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