On the front lines of the African climate change battle
'99.99% of antiques in the market are fake'
01 Jul 2014 21:01 GMT | Asia
An Indian politician has apologised after he was captured on video threatening the rape of his political rivals, in what he said was "a gross error of judgement".
Tapas Pal of the regional All India Trinamool Congress Party admitted his remarks had caused "dismay and consternation" on Tuesday after initially denying he had made the rape comment.
"I have no excuses to offer. It was a gross error of judgement and deeply insensitive," Pal, 55, said in a statement."It should not have happened. And I assure you it will not happen again," he said.
Amid widespread outrage in India over a series of recent high-profile rapes, Pal could be clearly heard bragging of his ability to order attacks against his left-wing opponents.
"If CPI-M (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," he said in an address to followers in late May which was filmed on a phone.
His comments drew widespread condemnation, including from Trinamool which is the fourth largest party in parliament and whose support is concentrated in the state of West Bengal.
"We do not in any way endorse what he said," party spokesman Derek O'Brien told reporters, adding that party leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was "hopping mad" about the remarks.
Pal, who is also a minor film star in the Kolkata-based movie industry, tried to limit the damage by claiming he had been misquoted.
"I never said rape. I said raid. I said they should raid all the people and places, including women and old," he told CNN-IBN TV channel earlier on Tuesday.
However even his own wife Nandini said the politician was out of line.
"I feel terrible about it. Whatever he has said, it is not right being a member of the parliament," she told reporters in Kolkata.
The head of the National Commission for Women said Pal's position was now untenable.
"He should resign. This is a very unfortunate statement," said the commission's head Mamata Sharma.
"Mamata Banerjee should take action against him - he should be suspended."
Brinda Karat, a leader from the communist party, told reporters that the comments were "completely unacceptable" and Pal "must be suspended" from the Lok Sabha, India's lower House of parliament.
India brought in tougher laws last year against sex offenders after the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012, but the laws have have failed to stem the tide of violence against women across the country.
In May, two girls aged 12 and 14 were found hanging from a mango tree in the state of Uttar Pradesh. They had been abducted and gang-raped.
There are number of reasons for rapes in country ranging from misogyny and caste prejudice to poverty and more.
Bollywood star leads campaign for gender equality.
Content on this website is for general information purposes only. Your comments
are provided by your own free will and you take sole responsibility for any direct
or indirect liability. You hereby provide us with an irrevocable, unlimited, and
global license for no consideration to use, reuse, delete or publish comments, in
accordance with Community Rules & Guidelines and Terms and Conditions.
Despite rain, worshippers gather to greet Pope Francis on his visit to Kenya and attend mass.
Africa, Kenya, Pope Francis
On Pope Francis's visit to Kenya, rights activists question Church stance on reproductive rights.
How Russia inadvertently promoted Georgian wine in the West.
Politics, Business & Economy, Europe
Despite vehicle donations and purchases during the Ebola epidemic, many patients still struggle to reach a hospital.
Health, Africa, Ebola
Turkey's president voices "sadness" over downing of Russian jet on Syria border, saying he wishes it had not happened.
War & Conflict, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia, Syrian crisis
Tahir Elci was killed after clashes between rebels and security forces broke out in a southeastern city.
War & Conflict, Turkey, Middle East
The insatiable appetite for antiques by China's growing nouveau riche is feeding a counterfeit industry.
Asia, China, Business & Economy
Bollywood actor Aamir Khan faces backlash over what he describes as growing intolerance and insecurity in India.
Politics, Arts & Culture, Asia
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita discusses the Bamako hotel attack, what his government plans to do next and the volatile north.
Politics, Mali, War & Conflict
South Africa's miner strike led to the country's deadliest act of police violence since the end of apartheid.
South Africa, Politics, Protests