Women’s Organisations Meet Speaker; Demand Action against TMC MP
A JOINT delegation of women’s organisations comprising Jagmati Sangwan, general secretary (AIDWA), Sudha Sundararaman, vice president (AIDWA), Annie Raja (NFIW), Jyotsna Chatterjee (JWP), Indrani Mazumdar (CWDS), Sharla James (GOS), Asha Gambhir (AIWC), Divya David (YWCA) and Binish (AIDMAM), met Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, on July 3 to express their concern at the shocking statement made by Tapas Paul, TMC MP. The delegation submitted a memorandum demanding stern action against the member concerned for his public threats to rape and kill. The Speaker received the delegation and deliberated on the matter very seriously. She shared the concerns expressed by the women’s organisations regarding such open incitement to criminal acts as expressed by the concerned member of parliament in the speech which is available in the public domain. She also assured the delegation that she would do all that was possible within her powers in this matter. The memorandum noted that Tapas Paul was deliberately provoking his supporters against political opponents and thus trying to disturb law and order. His speech is all the more dangerous because in the district of Nadia post-poll violence is still going on. At least two murders of members of the political opposition have taken place. There are numerous cases of attacks on them. In this situation, a hate-speech of this kind by a member of the parliament is likely to create more terror and violence in the area. Tapas Paul is but following in the footsteps of TMC leaders like Anubrata Mandal and Manirul Islam who have made incendiary speeches against the political opposition to justify acts of violence like murder. The state administration has taken no steps against them. The administrative head in the state has herself publicly condoned their action. Now that we find an elected representative openly making threats of rape, murder and physical attack against political opponents, we have little hope that his party or the state government will punish him for his action in spite of a face-saving show-cause notice which his party has apparently sent him, said the memorandum. Women’s organisations are shocked at such audacious and anti-women statements coming from an elected member of parliament especially at a time when the entire country is grappling with the increasing assaults on women and West Bengal is recording highest incidence of crime against women. Needless to say that such statements go against the decorum and spirit of Indian parliament and democracy, while the country is demanding more representation of women in the two houses. The memorandum demanded that in the interest of parliamentary democracy itself which is defiled by such behavior by elected representatives, the video-clippings be examined and stringent punitive action including his expulsion from Lok Sabha be considered.