Kolkata: Sparking widespread disbelief and disgust, actor-turned-Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal - 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, Pal, 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 on Monday telecast Pal, 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 Pal will not spare him. I will take out my gun and shoot him. I always carry a gun. I will destroy his entire clan," Pal 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 Pal, 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.
Pal 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, Pal 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 Pal in the video waving a shoe in his hand.
Pal later on 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.
Trinamool 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 Pal's sacking as a member of parliament, while Marxist leader Malini Bhattacharya said her party will approach the women's commission.
Pal 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".
A day after TMC MP Tapas Pal allegedly threatened to kill CPI(M) workers and have their women raped, his wife Nandini Pal today apologised for her husband's controversial comment and said there was another part of the story.
"I apologise for his comment. Of course there is no question of supporting it. But yes I know there is another part of the story, which provoked him to do that.
The entire incident had happened long back, what led to such a thing there is another part of the story," Nandini told reporters here. "On behalf of him I am saying sorry," said Nandini.