KOLKATA: Sparking widespread disbelief and disgust, actor-turned-Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul - one of the biggest names in Bengali films for over three decades - was caught on a video threatening to gun down his Marxist rivals and "unleash his boys for raping" women.
As the hate speech drew flak from all and sundry and shamed even his partymen, Paul, who has used invective against political opponents earlier also, denied uttering the word "rape" , and argued he had spoken in the heat of the moment.
Bengali news channels Monday telecast Paul, Lok Sabha member from Nadia district's Krishnanagar constituency, warning Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) men to "beware" of him as he won't "spare them and destroy their entire clan".
"If a CPI-M man dares to touch anybody, Tapas Paul will not spare him. I will take out my gun and shoot him. I always carry a gun... I will destroy his entire clan," Paul is seen in the video telling his party workers in Choumaha village.
"I warn my opponents... If anything happens to my mothers or sisters, my party workers, I will not spare them, I will have the last word. I will make their family pay dearly. I will ask my boys to go there. They will rape them and leave," says Paul, with his supporters shockingly cheering the MP's every word.
"If I hear a single incident, I get a witness, I won't spare," he is heard saying.
Paul had made outrageous comments during last year's panchayat poll campaign as well. "The CPI-M is a party of criminals.. beat them up, and drive them out of the villages," he had said.
Joining the league of Trinamool leaders Anubrata Mandal and Manirul Islam - infamous for their hate speeches, Paul is seen in Monday's video grab repeatedly warning his opponents and threatening them with dire consequences, with his body language matching his words.
"They have beaten up a little child, a mother, a sister. All the villagers of Choumaha, who are now with the opposition, I again warn them. I will be in Krishnanagar, and return to Choumaha every month.
"If I hear a single incident, If I get a witness, I won't spare. I am not saying this as a MP but as Trinamool worker. Those in the opposition, I am showing them shoes. I am very angry. Better be careful, better be careful," says Paul in the video waving a shoe in his hand.
Paul shot into the limelight in 1980 by playing the title role in the blockbuster comedy "Dadar Kirti (The exploits of Dada (or elder brother))". Since then he has acted in a large number of movies spread over nearly three and a half decades, playing the hero and lately settling for character roles. Some of his famous films are "Abodh" (Hindi) and Bengali hits "Pothbhola", "Bhalobasa Bhaloibasa" and "Saheb".
Raid not Rape: MP's Clarification
Paul later Monday offered a clarification. "I might have said something in the heat of the moment. But the fact is I don't roam around with a revolver. And I did not say rape, rather it was 'raid'.
"I had said we will raid but because there was so much of noise, people thought I said rape," he said.
The Trinamool Congress Monday sought an explanation from Paul for his comments. Party spokesperson Derek O'Brien said termed Pal's remarks "insensitive" and said the party did not "in any way endorse what he said weeks ago, being played on TV today."
While speaking on similar lines, Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee, however, said: "It has to be seen in what context he has said those words. It needs to be seen if any of the people or women were subjected to any attack."
Senior Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya demanded Paul's sacking as a member of parliament, while Marxist leader Malini Bhattacharya said her party will approach the women's commission.
Demanding the arrest of Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul for making derogatory remarks, the National Commission for Women (NCW) Monday said it will initiate action against him.