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TMC lawmaker claims that rape will continue ‘as long as the Earth exists’

Controversy erupts as women’s groups seek the legislator’s arrest

Gulf News

Kolkata: A Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader has again managed to create a controversy by claiming that rapes are a common phenomenon that have happened in the past and will continue forever.

The comments were made by legislators Dipak Haldar at a meeting at Diamond Harbour in South 24-Parganas, a district adjoining Kolkata. Speaking at a rally organised to counter a meeting held a few days earlier in which civil rights activists had protested against frequent incidents of rape in the state.

Haldar said other political parties and individuals were free to protest on issues that would lead to the state’s development but warned that if someone raised the issue of mothers and sisters being raped, they would not be able to leave his constituent assembly alive.

“There have been rapes in the past. Rapes are happening today and will continue to happen as long as the Earth exists,” Haldar said.

However, following the controversy and demands of various civil groups to suspend Halder as a legislator, he toned down blaming the media for taking his speech out of context.

“A section of the media is trying to create an unnecessary controversy. Why did I say? None of us support rape. I said this because it is a social evil. It is not possible for Mamata Banerjee alone to solve it. It is not possible for me or anyone of us alone. All of you must take a collective decision and where such incidents happen, you must protest,” Haldar told Gulf News over phone.

However, opposition parties are unwilling to accept this toned down version as they blame the TMC leadership of being insensitive towards women.

“Their highest leader is a woman. Even then, the languages they use against women are unthinkable in civilised world,” said BJP state president Rahul Sinha.

Earlier this year, Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul had made a fiery speech in Nadia district threatening to “set his boys loose” to rape women in CPM households. The speech, televised last month, drew condemnation from all quarters but the party stood by the actor-turned-politician.