TN Governor Allegedly “Harassed” Senior Female Journo : Fellow Journalists Gathered Together Demanding “Apology” !!

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Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit held a press conference on Tuesday evening to clear his name from a controversy surrounding a professor arrested in the ‘sex for degrees’ case. However, the Governor walked into another row when he patted the cheek of a woman journalist, without her consent, seemingly to dodge her question.

Journalist Lakshmi Subramanian, on Tuesday, tweeted a picture of herself being patted on the cheek by the Tamil Nadu Governor minutes after a press conference by him at Raj Bhavan.

In the tweet that began gaining traction almost immediately after it was posted, Lakshmi wrote, “I asked TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit a question as his press conference was ending. He decided to patronisingly – and without consent – pat me on the cheek as a reply.”

Two hours after the tweet was put out, it had already been retweeted over a thousand times, setting off hashtags such as #DontTouchMeGovernor trending.

Calling it unprofessional behavior, the journalist, Lakshmi Subramanian, said it was completely uncalled for to touch a stranger without consent.

“This, moments after he dismissed a barrage of questions about allegations of sexual misconduct against himself. Unprofessional behaviour – and completely uncalled for to touch a stranger without her consent, especially a woman,” she tweeted.

Speaking to Express, Lakshmi said the pat was in response to her question on who the Governor’s Tamil teacher was. “It was a few minutes after the press conference ended and everyone had began to walk out. Another reporter asked him what level his Tamil had progressed to since he said he was learning the language. As an extension, I asked him who his Tamil teacher was,” she said. She added that the Governor did not answer some of her questions on the university’s actions.

While many Twitter users expressed outrage, some defended the governor, pointing out that it may have been unintentional.

Now About 200 journalists, mainly from Tamil Nadu, have written to Governor Banwarilal Purohit condemning him for “harassing” a senior journalist. The journalists have demanded an unconditional apology from the Governor to the journalist in question, and an assurance that he will not violate the rights of journalists in the future.

“Your action today in touching the cheek of a senior lady reporter who asked you a question at the press meet was patronising at best and a violation of her rights as a woman at worst. She was there since you had called for a press meet and simply discharging her duty as a journalist,” the petition stated.

“We do not wish to question your motives on this gesture, considering that it is appalling that you should choose to do such a thing at a press meet that you addressed on the case of a professor allegedly luring students to sexual encounters with her seniors and who claimed to know you,” it added.

The woman journalist, working for an English magazine, had tweeted about the incident saying Purohit decided to “patronisingly”, and without consent, pat me on the cheek in response to a question. She added, “Washed my face several times. Still not able to get rid of it. So agitated and angered Mr Governor Banwarilal Purohit. It might be an act of appreciation by you and grandfatherly attitude. But to me you are wrong.”

The Chennai Press Club has demanded Purohit apologise to the journalist as well. Calling him out for his “unbecoming behaviour”, the body said, “Though you may claim to take shelter that it was an innocuous gesture from an elderly man, the law says otherwise.”

 

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