India MP Tapas Pal apology over rape threat

Tapas Pal Tapas Pal is a two-term MP and an award-winning Bengali actor

An Indian MP who threatened to kill opposition workers and have women raped has apologised, saying it was a "gross error of judgement".

Trinamool Congress (TMC) party MP Tapas Pal said he had "no excuses to offer" for his remarks.

Mr Pal made the controversial comments warning the rival Communist party while addressing his party supporters.

Opposition parties and the National Commission for Women have also condemned his comments.

Mr Pal made the threat weeks ago, but a video clip of his comments emerged for the first time on Monday when it was aired on Bengali news channels.

In the video, Mr Pal says: "If any CPM [Communist Party of India - Marxist] man is present here, listen to me. If you ever touch any Trinamool Congress worker or their families, you have to pay for this.

"If any rival touches any Trinamool woman, father or child, then I will ruin their generations. I will let loose my boys, they will commit rape. Yes, they will commit rape," the MP warned.

Mr Pal's statement has led to widespread outrage in India and TMC, which is the ruling party in the eastern state of West Bengal, has distanced itself from his comments.

'No excuses'

"Some remarks made by me in the heat and dust of the election campaign have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them," Mr Pal, 55, said in a statement late on Tuesday.

"I have no excuses to offer. It was a gross error of judgement and deeply insensitive... It should not have happened. And I assure you it will not happen again," he added.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Mr Pal had "committed a blunder".

"He has been cautioned by the party, What else do you want me to do?," she told reporters.

Earlier Mr Pal, who is also a local film actor, had denied using the word rape, but in the video, he is clearly heard using the word while assuring TMC workers that their political rivals will not be able to harm them.

Meanwhile another video clip has surfaced showing Mr Pal telling supporters that he would try to "get the death sentence" for an alleged criminal in a village, and if he failed he would "shoot them [criminals] dead ...I will kill them in front of everybody".

The CPM has asked the parliament speaker to disqualify Mr Pal, a two-term MP and an award-winning Bengali actor.

Correspondents say since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus, scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown and there is little tolerance for insensitive comments from politicians and other public figures.

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