Kolkata: Even as the controversy surrounding Trinamool Congress parliamentarian Tapas Paul’s ‘rape and kill’ remarks is yet to subside, a party legislator has created a row by saying “rapes will happen so long as the Earth exists”.
The comments by Dipak Kumar Halder, Trinamool legislator from West Bengal’s Diamond Harbour, has created an outrage, with people demanding his suspension from the party and the assembly.
“Rapes have happened earlier and rapes are happening now. So long as the Earth exists, rape will continue to happen,” Halder said Wednesday during a party meeting in his constituency in South 24 Parganas district.
Halder also cast aspersions on a woman who said she was raped for seven years.
“I find it astonishing that after living together for seven years, the woman is now claiming she was raped all these years. She has been milking money from him (the accused) all these years, and now when he has no more money, she is claiming rape,” Halder said.
Recently, actor-turned-politician Tapas Paul had publicly exhorted to kill Marxist workers and threatened to unleash his ‘boys’ to rape their women.
Halder’s comments have come in for severe criticism.
Former National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma sought his removal from the state assembly.
“It is very unfortunate that despite being a woman chief minister, her (Mamata Banerjee’s) leaders indulge in such kind of talks. They don’t even have a provision for punishing such a thing. I think he should be immediate removed not only from the party but from the assembly as well,” Sharma said.
Echoing Mamta Sharma’s views, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat accused the ruling Trinamool of promoting “rape culture” in Bengal.
“Such a man has no right to remain in the assembly. This is a party which is promoting rape culture all over the state, which is why Bengal has become the most unsafe place for women,” Karat said.
BJP Rajya Sabha member Chandan Mitra demanded police action against Halder.
“What he has said is despicable. Things are really getting out of control in Bengal. The Trinamool leaders have no control over their tongue,” Mitra said in Kolkata.
Halder also received flak from within his own party.
“Elected representatives should think before speaking. They should keep decency in mind while speaking especially when referring to women. Considering the stage at which crime against women has reached, there is a need for all of us to stand against crime against women irrespective of party lines,” said Trinamool Lok Sabha member Sugata Bose.