Rape threat, filmi style

Published : Jul 09, 2014 12:30 IST

Tapas Paul, MP of the Trinamool Congress.

Tapas Paul, MP of the Trinamool Congress.

A VIDEO recording of a speech made by Tapas Paul, the Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member from Krishnanagar, suddenly surfaced, sending shock waves all over the State because of the statements he made therein. Addressing party workers in an open-air meeting in Nadia district reportedly on June 14, Paul, an erstwhile Bengali matinee idol, threatened to kill and unleash his boys to “rape the family members” of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other opposition parties. “If anyone from the opposition lays a finger on any girl, or any father, or any child from the Trinamool, I will destroy their entire clan. I will set my boys on them, and they will rape them,” he said, repeating for effect, “…they will rape them”, amidst cheers and applause from party workers. He said should the CPI(M) try to harm any member of the Trinamool, “Tapas Paul will take his own revolver out and shoot them.”

Paul’s words drew condemnation from all quarters. Even his own party refused to stand by him. “Statements made by Tapas Paul are very insensitive. We do not in any way endorse what he said weeks ago being played on TV today [June 30],” said Derek O’ Brien, the Trinamool’s national spokesperson. The party, including Paul, later tried to obfuscate the issue by saying that he did not really say “rape” but “raid”, even though the video footage makes it clear what Paul actually said, and then repeated.

Even the film fraternity had no sympathy for him. The internationally acclaimed film director Buddhadeb Dasgupta, who has cast Paul in a number of his films, told Frontline: “There is nothing to say about this, except that it is shameful. There are those who join politics not out of any ideology, but for their own personal gains, and it is from such people that this kind behaviour is expected. They believe such statements will get them closer to their political masters, who in turn will protect them.”

This is not the first time a Trinamool leader’s public outburst has caused outrage. Anubrata Mandal, the party heavyweight from Birbhum, threatened to burn down the houses of independent candidates before the 2013 panchayat elections and exhorted his followers to hurl bombs at the police should they try to intervene. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, instead of condemning Mandal’s statements, commended him for being a “good party worker”. Similarly, Manirul Islam, the Trinamool MLA from Birbhum, had, in a public meeting, threatened to “behead” a Congress leader; Mamata Banerjee remained silent on the matter. In Paul’s case, too, even though he was made to submit a written apology, the party chief did not utter a word in condemnation. When she finally did react, she burst out: “What do you expect me to do? Kill him?”

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay

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