Trinamool Congress (TC) member of parliament (MP) Mr. Tapas Pal was in news for all wrong reasons. During one of his speeches he threatened to kill CPM (opposition party in West Bengal) workers and get their women raped by his boys (to insult them). The statement as such is very derogatory in nature, it is very insulting to women, and above all criminal in nature. He is clearly inciting people to engage in serious criminal activities like murder and rape. No surprise that there was huge uproar in media against his statement. And this was not first time he made such statement, it seems in past also he said something similar which gone unnoticed by media. This guy is one of the lawmakers of our country, such people sit in our parliament and decide what is good for people of our country. If people with such regressive and criminal mindset are sitting in our parliament then one can imagine what can be the situation of law and order in our country.
As usual there was huge uproar in public against his statement, this was discussed in media talk shows and discussion groups, finally Tapas offered an unconditional apology but nothing happened beyond that. He was not sacked, so far parliament (or judiciary) didn't take any action against such criminal and demeaning remark by one of its members. I am sure Mr. Tapas will continue as Trinamool's MP and will complete his term without facing any serious action. All other political parties who are up in arms to criticize him also have many skeletons in their own closets, they all need to take some action against someone so that these things don't happen so frequently. It seems some MP or minister or leader from every party is busy in making some regressive statements like this which not only justifies but also encourages rape culture. Recent Goa minister's statement about banning bikinis on Goa beaches, or stopping girls from going to pub because he thinks its against Indian culture is another such example, this is another attempt to put blame on victim in case of sexual assault. This trend is very disturbing and so far no political party has taken any serious action against any person who made any such statement. This clearly shows their trivial attitude towards this issue. They all speak all the time about women safety and empowerment, they all make very tall promises about this in their manifestos but in reality their actions don't hint that they are at all serious about these issues.
The statements made by all these people are bad enough but the reaction of the political parties to which they belong or the institutions which they represent (like parliament or assembly) is more disturbing or worrisome. We all know hypocritical behavior pattern of all these political parties but it seems even hands of powerful institutions like judiciary and parliament are also tied in these matters as they fail to take any disciplinary action against these people. These people make such statements and then offer an apology, that too only in some cases most of the time they claim they were quoted out of context or something like that. They all feel that such excuses are enough to bury the issue and move on. They all expect that such statements will have no effect on those young and easily impressionable minds who get very easily get impressed by their leaders and follow them blindly. When these people see such politicians making such statements and not getting punished, what message they get? What conclusion they draw after seeing that no action is being taken by anyone against an MP or minister who made such statement or even against the ones who are accused of some sexual assault related crimes? Will it stop rape culture? Definitely NO, we need to be more sensitive against any such remarks, they should not be encouraged, once people start getting punished, they start loosing their posts and jobs for making such statement then they will think thousand times before making any such statement or committing any such crime. There is no strong deterrent now which can stop people from doing these things. They all know that nothing will happen to them except some bad publicity. Our system need to bring that deterrent in place which can stop people from doing such things. I hope our judiciary and parliament doesn't fail us again this time. They need to set some precedence, they need to start somewhere and many be this is the opportunity. Just an apology is not enough, strong action against such actions is required if we expect them to stop. If we fail then we will see another statement like this in media after few days or months, may be the name will change or political party will change but the statements won't they will keep on coming and we will keep on wondering why criminalization or politics doesn't stop? or why so many rapes are happening?
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[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]