India’s Film Star Politician Threatens Rape in Public Meetings

Watch the video, and share it. Please. This is important.
Watch the video, and share it. Please. This is important.

India, my motherland, has a lot of criminal politicians. That is not news.

For example, a quick Google search under “India criminal politicians” would immediate show a Wikipedia site with names of Indian politicians convicted of crimes. Some of these are big-name politicians, such as Lalu Prasad Yadav. A click on his name would show that he was the chief minister of the Hindi-speaking state of Bihar, and was a major power-broker in national politics, and also a powerful railway minister of India. But on October 3 of 2013, he was given a court sentence of five years of rigorous imprisonment and 25 lakh (US$42,000) fine for his role in the Fodder Scam. He was a member of a so-called low caste, and played caste politics big time.

Lalu Prasad is one of the rare, big-name Indian politicians that actually was punished for a handful of his many crimes, and served a jail sentence for some time. Some argued that had he not been low caste, his fate would not have sunk low so quickly. But he is now out of prison, and back into politics. Chances are, in five or ten years, he will rise again. Nobody knows.

You can do your own Google search under various key words. I’d let you do it, instead of taking my word for it.

Here I’m going to talk about a new variety of Indian politicians that came from the movie world. In India, traditionally, the southern state of Tamil Nadu with its regional, Tamil-language and region-based parties elected noted film stars as members of the national parliament. When I grew up in the sixties and seventies, I always heard the name of M. G. Ramachandran of the DMK party, who became the chief minister of the state and bemused us with his always-sunglass-covered eyes and strange, confusing political statements. Then, we heard the name of N. T. Rama Rao of Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh, who also came from the movie world, and became the chief minister of the southern state, and also made many idiosyncratic statements, border-lining stupidity. We, the politically savvy Bengalis from Calcutta always wondered why in the world did the people elect them to be the architects of their destiny?

But Bengal, and most of India, was free of such apparent nonsense.

Not anymore.

He was caught on camera threatening to rape and kill. Now, police is searching for those who taped his speeches and turned it over to the media.
He was caught on camera threatening to rape and kill. Now, police is searching for those who taped his speeches and turned it over to the media.

Recently, in the May parliamentary elections, West Bengal for the first time elected a whole bunch of movie stars — to represent at least one million people from each of their constituencies. Most of these electoral constituencies are rural, and therefore, a very high number of the people who elected them are extremely poor. And illiterate too. At least, it was obvious the way they voted for these out-of-touch, elite, filthy rich film stars as their leaders clearly show they didn’t have any political knowledge or awareness about the lack of political knowledge and awareness of these celebrity candidates.

These film stars included Tapas Pal, Shatabdi Ray, Moonmoon Sen, Sandhya Ray, and Dev. The last three were never involved in politics, but chose to run because Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, asked them to run. During the election campaign, they made stupid statements, showed their extreme ignorance and apathy about the Indian people and politics, and did not come out in the fierce May heat when Bengal’s temperature shot up to 100-105 F. They only campaigned out of their air-conditioned cars, and later in the evenings. Then, they retreated back to their makeshift A/C lodges.

Tapas Pal and Shatabdi Ray ran for the second time. During the first five years of their tenure, those one-million-plus poor people who had elected them practically never got to see them. They returned for a second time, made many stupid comments during their campaigns, and more.

They all won landslide elections.

But Tapas Pal did much more.

Recently, phone-recorded videos surfaced that Mr. Pal, once a soft-spoken, mild-mannered hero, screamed at various villages and small towns of his Krishna Nagar constituency, asking his supporters to take violent revenge against workers of the opposition party. He was caught on camera challenging his supporters to go out and kill opposition workers. Then, he was also caught saying that he himself carried a gun, and was himself capable of killing.

Finally, he was caught on camera screaming that he was now asking his party workers to go into the villages and homes of opposition parties, and rape their women.

Here is one of the few video tapes that surfaced. This is also subtitled by media that aired it.

Even by the Indian standard, where some politicians are convicted of major crimes and many others commit major crimes but are never convicted, this one created a new low.

But guess what? Neither the West Bengal administration, nor his own ruling party with its firebrand, woman chief minister Mamata Banerjee, did anything to punish him for his criminal remarks. They asked for his written apology, accepted it, and said that would be the end of the matter.

No criminal prosecution, or even an attempt to do it, for his absolutely criminal activities.

But, under the administration’s instructions, West Bengal police are now frantically searching for those who taped his speeches and handed the tapes over to the media.

This is today’s India. Worse, this is today’s West Bengal — my country, my state.

Once I felt proud to be from there.

Footnote: After some of his vitriolic speeches, his party workers actually went into villages, and killed workers and family members of the opposition party. I do not support the opposition party either, but that’s beyond the point here.

You decide how you want to read about this latest development, and what to do about it.

With a numb mind, a numb brain, and a numb heart,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

###

The original vitriol: in [my] Bengali language :-(
The original vitriol: in [my] Bengali language 😦

 

6 thoughts on “India’s Film Star Politician Threatens Rape in Public Meetings

  1. Unfortunately, WB political parties have created rape culture in the state that allows violence against all, particularly women, to go unheeded. Party cadre commits all crime with impunity. Even watch groups such as women’s commission won’t oppose the govt. it’s a sad state of affairs. Many NGOs are working for social change and we need to ask them how we can help from outside the country. Individual action may not be very effective.

    1. Please suggest some possible and pragmatic action plans to stop this horror. I’ll spend time on it if we can do it together. International justice groups could help if we approach them. My blog is out there to draw their (and your) attention. Thank you for writing.

  2. Thank you, Partha, for sending this message and informing us of this truly horrendous turn of event. The sense of desperation and defeat must be enormous for this to be happening. What to do about it seems to me to be the question. Is there any movement to challenge these movie star/fakers? Is there any challenge to Pal for this outrageous acts? How can we plug in and be useful?

    1. Nancy, Thanks for writing. Yes, there is a lot of protest in West Bengal and Calcutta, but the government and police are absolutely dictatorial. They would find every opportunity to harass opposition, but not do anything to punish such criminal activity. India — Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, small towns, villages — are in great peril. People in power are killing and raping every single day. I have never seen violence of this scale. I’m willing to speak to individuals and groups if opportunities exist. There must be global pressure to stop this historic violence. I am ready to work with American and international law and justice groups.

  3. It is at an all time low. Sadly & unfortunately India has become a “rogue country”. An “immature state” is a polity whose elites are dysfunctional, venal, and narcissistic; whose economy is not viable, frequently dependent on handouts; and whose coherence is threatened by a lack of social consensus. Immature states typically lack political traditions, change agents, goal-oriented bureaucracies, and institutional memory. Consequently, the denizens of immature states are often xenophobic and insular.

    To top it all off, Kolkata… the City of Joy has become the City of Sorrow. With a “failed economy” it fails to attract foreign direct investment. It is characterized by kleptocratic governments and rampant corruption and lack of a modern infrastructure. It features an all-pervasive failure of institutions; lack of commitment to true reforms; absence of a functioning private sector; problematic mentality (laziness, passive-aggressiveness, pathological and destructive envy; xenophobia, resistance to learning, etc.); a low-level of research-and-development and innovation; an antiquated and dysfunctional education system; and primitive banking system and capital markets. While not failed states in the political and full-fledged sense of the word, “failed economies” comes in a close second.
    A “failed state” is a country whose government has no control and cannot exercise a monopoly on the legitimate use of force over a substantial part of its territory or citizenry. Its promulgations and laws are futile and inapplicable.
    In its failed state, high crime rates and rampant venality, nepotism, and cronyism affect the government’s ability to enforce laws and implement programs. It reacts by adding layers of intransigent and opaque bureaucracy to an already unwieldy mammoth. The institutions of the failed state are hopelessly politicized and, thus, biased, distrusted, and compromised. Its judiciary is in a state of decrepit decline as unqualified beneficiaries of patronage join the ranks.

    I said it before and I’m saying it again…but you all may not agree with me. That’s fine but I do believe in Chanakya policy very much …”pick a thorn with a thorn”. As much as I love & respect Gibran, but in this case I totally disagree, that, “eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”. What can you do? So be it. Desperate times call for drastic measures.
    The only way to make sure of this, “the IMPOTENT MEN who lacks morally & principally” and doesn’t behave ethically is by providing equal treatment to all subjects, regardless of race, sex, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, or age. The old adage “Do to others as you would have them do to you” is a potent deterrent but it has a corollary: “Feel free to do unto them what, in all probability, will never be done to you.”

    The Stupid, the Trivial, and the Frivolous are everywhere: among the working classes, of course, but increasingly you can find them displacing the erstwhile elites, spawning hordes of mindless politicians, idiot business tycoons, narcissistic media personalities, vacuous celebrities, illiterate bestselling authors, athletes with far more brawn than brain, repetitious pop singers, and even ignorant academics. Their cacophony drowns the few voices of wisdom, expertise, and experience and their sheer number overwhelms all systems of governance and all mechanisms of decision-making. The Imbeciles are a menace to the continued existence not only of our civilization, but also of our species. We may end up being all Homo, no sapiens (Homo sapiens in Latin: “man wise”). It’s like there is no end in sight. The only way I can think of it is, involving the International Humanitarian Community… whatever is out there and available. Hit it where it hurts most. Cut off funding, aid and boycott- currency(any sort) speaks volume.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Unless we create global solidarity to fight back against such a darkest chapter in our history, we can’t make any progress. I’ve been talking about cutting off funding, but that’s not going to happen. The new rail budget and defense budget asked for a massive share of foreign direct investment (FDI), selling out even the most secure public/government sectors to U.S. and European corporations, obviously to please those governments, and thereby to keep in power. So, I do not think cutting off funding would be a valid idea. Now, can we talk to global human rights and justice groups? Perhaps. Can we talk to global media? Try with lots of luck. It is a very, very sad day for India and the world we knew.

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