Trinamool Congress member of Parliament Tapas Pal tendered an unconditional apology on Tuesday for his threat to kill Communist Party of India-Marxist workers and having their women raped after he was asked by an embarrassed party leadership to do so following widespread outrage.
Pal, also a Bengali film actor, said in making such comments he had let down his constituents and the people of Bengal. "Some remarks made by me in the heat and dust of the election campaign have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them," Pal said in a written apology to the Trinamool Congress and the media.
"I have no excuses to offer. It was a gross error of judgment and deeply insensitive. It should not have happened. And I assure you it will not happen again. Once more, a humble apology," he said.
"Whatever the provocation -- and there was an attempt at provocation -- those comments should never have been made," the letter said.
He said in making the comments he had let down the people of Bengal. "I have let down my party, the Trinamool Congress, and my political colleagues, I have let down my family, including my wife and children and my parents, and my friends. I apologise to all of them, and particularly to all women in our society and to those in the media who highlighted the issue," the two-time Lok Sabha MP from Krishnagar said.
Pal was shown in a video footage on a vernacular TV news channel yesterday, saying, "If any CPI-M man is present here. Listen to me. If you ever touch any Trinamool Congress worker or their families at Choumaha, you have to pay for this. Don't try to act smart with me. I am smarter than
"... Earlier, you guys have bullied me on various occasions. If you insult the mothers and daughters of Trinamool workers, then I won't spare you. I will let loose my boys in your homes and they will commit rape. I will teach each of you a lesson," the MP had warned.
The Union home ministry has sought a detailed report from the state government about Pal's comments, a Union home ministry official said.
"The MHA has sought a detailed report from the state government regarding the comments made by Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal. We are expecting the detailed report within a day or two," Union home ministry spokesperson K S Dhatwalia told PTI over phone.
"We have asked them to give complete information about his speech, where it was made, how many people were present and its repercussions," the home ministry official said.
Earlier Pal was asked by the TMC leadership to explain his conduct in writing.
Party general secretary Mukul Roy said that the explanation was part of a process, which has been initiated. "A process has been started, let's see where it goes," Roy said.
Another senior party leader and state education minister Partha Chatterjee described Pal's threat as "condemnable". He told reporters outside the assembly premises, "It is condemnable. Our party leader(Mamata Banerjee) is deeply saddened. He has been cautioned and an explanation has been sought from him. The party does not support this kind of conduct."
Another senior party leader and Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee earlier said that a decision would be taken on what action to be taken at a meeting of party MPs on Wednesday to be presided over by party chief Mamata Banerjee.
On Monday, the TMC demanded an explanation in writing from Pal, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Krishnagar constitency in Nadia district twice in 2009 and 2014, within 48 hours.
The CPI-M, the target of Pal's attack, demanded that Parliament should act against the actor-turned MP and that cases be filed for criminal intimidation and incitement to violence after describing the hate speech as "shocking and obnoxious".
"The speech of the Trinamool Congress MP, Tapas Pal, inciting violence and rape against CPI-M workers and women is shocking and obnoxious. He threatened murder, destruction of homes of CPI-M men and to send his boys to rape women there," the CPI-M politburo said.
Leader of Opposition and CPI-M MLA Surjyakanta Mishra said, "the language used by the MP is very obscene. We had sought a discussion on the issue but the Speaker did not allow."
The BJP too demanded an immediate removal of the MP from membership of the Lok Sabha with its state president Rahul Sinha saying that the party would request the Speaker to see whether an MP like Pal diminished the honour of the House. "We would send a CD of the speech by Tapas Pal to the Lok Sabha Speaker and request her to see whether an MP like Pal, who had made such derogatory and obscene comments, diminished the honour of the Lok Sabha," Sinha said.
Image: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee