KOLKATA: Some people in West Bengal’s Nadia district have stopped sending their daughters to school after TMC MP Tapas Pal threatened to have family members of his political opponents “raped and shot”.
“After Tapas Pal’s threats saying he will get our women raped, we are scared to send our teenage daughters to school. The TMC goons can easily carry out their leader’s threat as it is not possible for the menfolk to escort them to school and back. Our wives are scared too. We will send our daughters to school only when the situation becomes normal,” said Asad Sheikh, a CPM supporter from Choumaha village, where the Krishnanagar MP had made the controversial statement. Children here have to cycle to the far away school and back along a desolate road lined with jute plantations on both sides.
A teacher of Nagadi Wobaidiya High School, said: “Many girls from Choumaha study in our school. They have been absent since last week. I do not know the reason.”
And a Class XII girl said: “After the MP’s threats to rape the women whose family members are Opposition workers, all my friends are scared to venture out of the village. Many of our relatives are members of either the CPM or the BJP. Police will not escort us to our school.”
With Pal allegedly asking TMC supporters to keep sharp weapons ready to slit the throats of Opposition workers, in a speech at Teghari village, most of the men have fled the villages in the area. In his speech, the MP threatened Rafiqul, a TMC worker who had joined the CPM just before the Lok Sabha polls. The next day Rafiqul’s home was ransacked and his family members were attacked allegedly by TMC goons. His family then fled the village.
Rafiqul’s wife, Monoyara Bibi, said: “Tapas Pal openly threatened to kill my husband and our home was destroyed by TMC workers the very next day. How can we be safe in our village?”
When video footage of the speech went viral and was telecast by TV channels, district TMC leaders launched a manhunt for the person who had handed it over to the media.
CM Mamata Banerjee had alleged the media had paid a huge sum to obtain the video clip. However, Abdullah Mollah, a panchayat deputy chief who had recorded the speech on his mobile phone, said: “I didn’t sell the video footage at all. I handed it over to expose what was going on in the political arena as I thought it was a dangerous trend.”