Indian media: Rape threat and bikini ban

Tapas Pal Image copyright Other
Image caption Tapas Pal is an MP of the regional Trinamool Congress party

Media in India are demanding the resignation of a regional party MP over his derogatory remarks against women.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Tapas Pal, while addressing party supporters, threatened to kill workers of the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist and have its women members raped, media reports said.

"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 reportedly said in the clip.

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.

The MP has since then apologised for his remarks after a directive from his party which is in power in West Bengal state, reports say.

"Some remarks made by me in the heat and dust of the election campaign have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them. Whatever the provocation, those comments should never have been made," The Hindu quotes Mr Pal as saying.

Papers are critical of party chief Mamata Banerjee's handling of the matter and demand Mr Pal's sacking.

"In any civilised society, he should have been thrown straight out on his ear… He should not only be thrown out of the party, but action must be taken against him for inciting violence and advocating brutality against women," says the Hindustan Times in an editorial.

The paper says strict action against Mr Pal would give out a "very good signal" that politicians are not a "separate category of privileged people who can get away with such despicable conduct".

The Indian Express echoes similar sentiments and urges Mr Pal's party to sack him.

"Another day, another example of how Indian politics deals unabashedly in the currency of misogyny… An MP cannot threaten women with rape and get away with it," it writes.

Banning bikinis

Meanwhile, a minister in Goa has called for banning bikinis, The Asian Age reports.

"We should not allow girls with bikinis to enter public places because it is very difficult to control people who arrive in Goa from different states. By the time the victim reaches the police it is too late. It is better to control such type of activities on the beaches," the paper quotes Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar as saying on Tuesday.

The minister is also opposed to young women visiting pubs wearing "short dresses", saying it is against "our culture".

Mr Dhavalikar's Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.

However, BJP spokesman Wilfred Mesquita has rejected the minister's demand, saying "something which is not a sin across India cannot be a sin in Goa", the paper adds.

And finally, President Pranab Mukherjee has become the country's first head of state to have a Twitter account, The Times of India reports.

The account, operating under the handle @RashtrapatiBhvn, will provide regular information about the president's speeches and visits, it adds.

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