Catholic Bishop: A politician who incites rape is a thug that discredits India
by Nirmala Carvalho
Bishop Savio Fernandes, the Archdiocese of Mumbai, comments to AsiaNews on statements made by a member of the West Bengal parliament. The politician has called for murder of his political opponents and rape their wives. The prelate says these words are "mirror of a distorted and wrong mentality, which encourages the people of our country to treat women as objects and second-class citizens".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "Uncivilized and indecent" comments "worthy of a thug, which show the perverse male bigotry and arrogance that prevails in the minds of Indians, especially among our political leaders", denounces Msgr. Savio Fernandes, auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Mumbai.  He was commenting to AsiaNews on some statements made by Tapas Pal (see photo), a member of the West Bengal parliament from the ranks of Trinamool Congress (TMC) which have been making headlines in Indian press over the last two days. Some videos have taken over the political threaten to send "his boys" to kill his political opponents and rape their women.

Tapas' declarations date back to a meeting held on 14 June, but the videos were released only on June 30. The Trinamool Congress (the ruling party) politician was referring to members of the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM, Marxist-Communist) opposition in the state of West Bengal. Only today he apologized, speaking of "gross error of judgment."

"Through his intemperate, callous, despicable and provocative language - says Mgr. Fernandes - Tapas Pal has discredited the entire parliament. Such similar comments, reflect a distorted and wrong mentality, which encourages the people of our country to treat women as objects and second-class citizens, and inflict violence on them at will. "

"Rape - says the prelate - is a worst form of torture and is often used by males as a tool to dominate over women and to subjugate them.  Men, and in particular, politicians who make insensitive statements against women, should realize that if it were not for their mothers, who carried them in their wombs for nine months, they would not have existed in the first place.  They owe their existence to women who bravely decided to go through the pangs of birth to bring them into the world".

According to Msgr. Fernandes "in order to do away with this male bigotry, sex-education in our schools and colleges, should be taken up on priority basis, where stress should be laid on respecting and upholding the dignity of women".

For Dr. Pascoal Carvalho, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Committee for the human life of the diocese of Mumbai, "the barbaric statements by the MP are themselves a crime against the dignity of women." Rape, he tells AsiaNews, "is a social evil and its threat to 'destroy families', the basic unit of society, is a crime against life itself."

Among other things, the Catholic doctor tells AsiaNews, "the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reveals that West Bengal has topped in crimes against women with 30,942 cases reported in 2012 - the highest in the country, with 2000 reported cases of rape in 2012 alone. The heinous community gang rape of a 20-year old tribal woman at Subalpur village in Birbhum district in January  on the orders of a kangaroo-style village court - serves as a reminder of the dangerous conditions women face in India and in the very state of the MP. "