KOLKATA: Protests demanding the arrest of Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal who delivered hate speeches against Opposition party workers intensified in West Bengal on Friday with the Left Front staging a walkout from the state Assembly.
Left Front legislators sought a discussion on the issue and demanded a statement from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. They alleged that Tapas Pal’s hate speech at public meetings in four villages in Nadia incited TMC workers and a CPM panchayat member Abdul Haque was murdered on June 27 there.
Since the Speaker did not allow any discussion, the Left Front MLAs staged a walkout in protest.
Leader of the Opposition Suryakanta Mishra later criticised Mamata saying, “Now she has come out with the ‘conspiracy by media’ theory and inquiring about how the video clip became public. She should instead inquire about the hate speech and immediately order his arrest.”
The BJP took out protest processions in several districts demanding the arrest of Tapas Pal and lodged FIRs against him for his speech asking TMC workers to kill the Opposition party workers and that he would send his men to rape the Opposition women activists. The Choumaha village where he first delivered his hate speech is a BJP stronghold and during the Lok Sabha polls, the party polled majority of the votes in the polling booth there.
Meanwhile, Mamata’s allegation that the media paid a huge sum to obtain the video clip of Tapas Pal’s speech was refuted by the deputy chief of a panchayat in Nadia district, Abdullah Mollah, who had recorded it in his mobile phone and handed it over to Bengali television channels.
Mollah, who was elected as an independent candidate in the panchayat polls last year, said, “I did not sell the video footage at all. I handed it over to expose what was going on in the political arena and I thought it was a dangerous trend. I did it for public good and will do it again in future if such hate speeches continue.”
After Mamata’s statement alleging a “media conspiracy” and describing Tapas Pal’s hate speech as a “trivial matter being blown out of proportion by the media”, TMC leaders in Nadia started to hunt for the man who supplied the video footage to television channels.
The TMC district leaders suspected some of their own men also recording Tapas Pal’s other hate speeches and supplying it to the media as there is a faction within the party which is opposed to the MP from Krishnangar. A large number of TMC workers had objected when Tapas Pal was renominated from the Lok Sabha seat.
Despite severe criticism by many leading women personalities, the state women’s commission refused to take cognisance of the hate speech saying “it was a very old issue and the commission will help Mamata Banerjee who was working for uplift of women in the state”.