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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Tapas Pal issues apology for his rape remark, Mamata attacks media

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, July 01, 2014
First Published: 17:47 IST(1/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:14 IST(2/7/2014)

Though West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her party MP Tapas Pal committed a "big blunder" by threatening to unleash rapists on CPI(M) women supporters, she hinted his "unconditional apology" should end the row.

"We condemn Pal's statements. He was asked to apologise. He did that. What else can I do? He is a mature man," Mamata told reporters.

Asked whether her party will take action against Pal, she said, "What else do you want me to do, kill him?" She said the MP has been cautioned by the party.

"If you speak about administrative steps against him, why didn't you raise the issue when he said it (a month ago)," Mamata told reporters.

"If you had raised the questions earlier, there could have been sou motu FIRs then," she said.

Her statement indicates the party will not take any action against the MP, contrary to reports that said a meeting to be chaired by Mamata on Wednesday was likely to suggest some punitive measures.

Read: How to stop politicians like Tapas Pal
 
Mamata also attacked the media, calling some of them the agents of BJP and CPI(M).

"If you (the media) raised the issue earlier, we could have also raised the issues of CPI(M) leaders like Anil Bose (former CPI-M MP from Arambagh who allegedly indulged in profanities)," she remarked.

Pal's threat to rape and kill women workers of CPI(M) was exposed on Monday, when television channels began airing his speech delivered in Choumaha village in Nadia district in May.

Watch video: TMC MP Tapas Pal threatening to kill CPM (I) workers, rape their women
 

As the day unfolded, Pal's wife Nandini apologised for his comments, which made one more addition to a corpus of such remarks by politicians.

"I apologise for his comments. I am saying sorry on his behalf," Nandini said while National Commission for Women said it will request the President and the prime minister to expel Pal from Parliament.

The row had its reverberations in the West Bengal assembly too, where noisy scenes were witnessed when Congress members staged a walk out after an adjournment motion on the issue was disallowed by the speaker.

Leader of Opposition and CPI-M veteran Surjya Kanta Mishra said his party will file an FIR at the place in Nadia district where Pal made the rape remarks.

Expressing dismay over Mamata's "silence", state BJP president Rahul Sinha said a CD of Pal's speech will be sent to the Lok Sabha speaker for appropriate action.  BJP national vice-president Laxmi Kant Chawla has in a letter to Mamata demanded Pal "should be put behind bars"Meanwhile, another video of Pal surfaced on Tuesday where he is purportedly shown exhorting his party supporters to unleash violence on the opposition.

Read: Revisiting TMC's 'insensitive' history

At least two police complaints were lodged against Pal during the day. A complaint was lodged with Shyampukur police station in Kolkata by Congress worker Swarup Bose and another in Nakashipara police station in Nadia by BJP worker Jaya Sarkar.

Earlier, Pal sent a letter to the party and tendered unconditional apology for his words.

"I have no excuses to offer. It was a gross error of judgement and deeply insensitive. It should not have happened. And I assure you it will not happen again," Pal's letter reads.

"Some remarks made by me in the heat and dust of the election campaign have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them," the letter said.

He said he should never have made the comments despite the "provocation", adding he has let down his party, his family and friends.

The "apology" came hours after Trinamool leader Mukul Roy said Pal's remarks have "deeply pained" Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee. Another party leader, Derek O-Brien said, "A chief minister as sensitive as Mamata Banerjee. I can tell you…she is hopping mad."

Read: Trinamool asks Tapas Pal to tender apology for rape remark

Pal, a two-term MP from Krishnagar constituency and popular Bengali actor, could be heard bragging of his ability to order attacks against CPI (M) workers in an address to party supporters in May. His speech filmed on a smart phone was telecast by a Bengali news channel on Monday.

"If CPI(M) tries to kill and intimidate our workers... I will not spare them. I will let loose my men to rape your women," he said.

As the day unfolded, Paul's wife Nandini apologised for his comments, which made one more addition to a corpus of such remarks by politicians.

"I apologise for his comments. I am saying sorry on his behalf," Nandini said while National Commission for Women said it will request the President and the prime minister to expel Pal from Parliament.

The row had its reverberations in the West Bengal assembly too, where noisy scenes were witnessed when Congress members staged a walk out after an adjournment motion on the issue was disallowed by the speaker.

Read: Actor Pal an opposite of Tapas the MP

Leader of Opposition and CPI-M veteran Surjya Kanta Mishra said his party will file an FIR at the place in Nadia district where Pal made the rape remarks.
 
Expressing dismay over Mamata's "silence", state BJP president Rahul Sinha said a CD of Pal's speech will be sent to the Lok Sabha speaker for appropriate action.  BJP national vice-president Laxmi Kant Chawla has in a letter to Mamata demanded Pal "should be put behind bars".

Scores of BJP workers hit the streets in various parts of the state. They demonstrated in Coochbehar, Hooghly and Kolkata against Pal.



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