"Announcing Paul's apology to media, Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy took pride over the party taking strong action within 24 hours."
Kolkata, July 1 - With the countrywide chorus rising for his arrest and expulsion from parliament, Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul Tuesday tendered an unconditional apology for his deeply insensitive rape comments even as another video surfaced showing him exhorting his partymen to kill CPI-M workers.
With politicians, eminent personalities and activists baying for his head and the National Commission for Women (NCW) seeking his expulsion from parliament, the Lok Sabha member, in a letter addressed to his party and the media, sought apology terming his comments a gross error of judgment and deeply insensitive.
Some remarks made by me have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them. Whatever the provocation, those comments should never have been made, the letter said, that by the comments, he had let down my constituents and the people of Bengal, his party, and his family, including my wife and children and my parents, and my friends.
I apologise to all of them, and particularly to all women in our society and to those in the media who highlighted the issue, said Paul.
Earlier in the day, Paul's wife Nandini too apologised on her husband's behalf, although she asserted that he was provoked to make the remarks.
If a CPI-M man dares to touch anybody, I will take out my gun and shoot him. I always carry a gun... I will destroy his entire clan. I warn my opponents... I will make their family pay dearly. I will ask my boys to go there. They will rape them and leave, Paul was seen saying in the video that has now gone viral.
Even as Paul's remarks continued to trigger outrage and disgust, another party leader - Bankura district head Arup Chakraborty - was caught on tape asking partymen to sacrifice whoever intrudes your home.
If any outsider enters your house, cut him down, sacrifice him. I will take care of that, you don't have to worry, Chakraborty is seen in the video clip telecast by a Bengali news channel.
He later justified his comments, saying he was talking about the right of self-defence.
Adding to the controversy, a new video has come up which shows Paul abusing Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists and asking his party workers to slit their rivals' throats.
Men who kill others are not humans. Till I am here, I will request don't spare any CPI-M worker. Our men will kill them. I am also asking the women to slit open CPI-M worker's throats, says Paul in the video telecast by a news channel.
The row had its reverberations in the West Bengal assembly too, where noisy scenes were witnessed when Congress members staged a walkout after the speaker disallowed an adjournment motion on the issue.
Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said his CPI-M will file a police complaint at the place in Nadia district where Paul made the rape remarks.
Expressing dismay over Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's silence in the matter, state Bharatiya Janata Party president Rahul Sinha said a CD of Paul's speech will be sent to the Lok Sabha speaker seeking action against him.
While the state women's panel put the onus on the chief minister, NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma told IANS that the panel was writing to the president, prime minister and the Lok Sabha speaker seeking Paul's expulsion from parliament for his atrocious remarks.
A host of personalities and activists expressed disgust over Paul's remarks and demanded exemplary punishment.
I am totally stunned to hear his remarks. I have worked with him and never thought he could utter such things. This is shameful, said actor-director Aparna Sen.
Amid all the brouhaha, Banerjee, who party leaders said was extremely pained at the insensitive comments, initially refused to comment on the issue though addressing a gathering later, she asserted action was taken against her own people for wrong-doing.
She later described Paul's rape remarks as a big blunder, but blamed the media for its failure to highlight the issue which was a month old.
As regards criminal action, why didn't you raise the issue one month earlier when he (Paul) made the comments? Shall I now rake up old issues when CPI-M leaders Sushanta Ghosh and Anil Basu made derogatory remarks against me?
Prodded by media persons about criminal action, Banerjee lost her cool and dubbed the news channels which telecast Paul's video as CPI-M and BJP's touts.
Announcing Paul's apology to media, Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy took pride over the party taking strong action within 24 hours.
As soon as it came to the party's notice, we made it clear that the party does not endorse the statements. This was a shocking incident. The party will ensure this kind of incident does not happen again, he said.