Indian Politician Threatens to Rape Rivals' "Women"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 1 2014 5:27 PM

Indian Politician Threatens to Rape Rivals' "Women"

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Indian demonstrators at the one-month anniversary of the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi.

Photo by RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images

A politician in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal is facing calls to resign after he was caught on video threatening the rape of female relatives of rivals.

According to The Guardian, Tapas Pal, an MP from India’s fourth-largest party in parliament, was captured on a smartphone in May saying the following at a rally about opponents accused of political violence:

"If CPIM [Communist Party of India-Marxist] tries to kill and intimidate our workers … I will not spare them. I will let loose my men to rape your women."
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Those remarks incited nationwide criticism on Tuesday. The actor-turned-politician has gone on to apologize, calling his actions “insensitive” and a “gross error of judgement,” but his words touched a sore spot in a country notorious for sexual violence towards women and politicians making thoughtless references about the issue.

India set up stricter laws against sex offenders after the fatal gang rape of a medical student in New Delhi in December 2012. In April, three men were sentenced to hang after being convicted of raping a photojournalist.

Irene Chidinma Nwoye is a writer and former Slate intern in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

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