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Sorry, but Tapas Pal may get away with rape remark

comment Updated: Jul 02, 2014 01:46 IST
Hindustan Times
Trinamool Congress

In any civilised society, he should have been thrown straight out on his ear. This was the very least Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee should have done the minute a video footage of MP Tapas Pal making the most appallingly violent remarks about opponents of the party surfaced.

At a public meeting, Mr Pal spoke of how he would gun down those against his party and also about how he would send his men to rape the women of families of those who dared “to touch any Trinamool girl”.

The ‘TMC supremo’, as her followers like MP Derek O’Brien call her, has not said anything on the matter, which suggests that she sees nothing wrong in this sort of unpardonable behaviour on the part of Mr Pal.

There are reports that she is ‘pained’ by Mr Pal’s remarks. After Mr O’Brien waffled on about how Mr Pal’s thoughts are not the thoughts of the party, the offender even tried to get off the hook by suggesting that he said rage and not rape.

He also offered an apology. Mr Pal proudly spoke of his credentials as a ‘big goonda’ to the cheers of his supporters. His remarks will be taken as a licence to indulge in violence against women by his lumpen followers.

For long, we have considered Uttar Pradesh to be the haven of goondas but it would seem that West Bengal is not too far behind. Even if the ‘supremo’ now acts against Mr Pal, it is a question of too little too late.

He should not only be thrown out of the party, but action must be taken against him for inciting violence and advocating brutality against women.

It is clear that Mr Pal thought that this conduct was permissible since there does not seem to be any code of conduct laid down by Ms Banerjee. Trinamool MPs and other leaders have in the past too made the most indecent 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. This is astounding considering that as a woman leader she was expected to take the lead in the fight for the protection of women in her state.

The kind of remarks made by Mr Pal also requires a censure from the Union home minister himself as they have the potential to trigger violence.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, there has to be zero tolerance on crimes against women. And those who advocate them publicly should be made to pay the price. Throwing the book at Mr Pal would be a very good signal that netas are not a separate category of privileged people who can get away with such despicable conduct.