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TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit Kicks Up Storm With Pat on Journalist's Cheek After Press Meet on 'Sex for Degrees' Scandal

The incident took place when the 78-year-old Governor was about to leave the venue of the crowded press conference at the Raj Bhavan, which was all set to conclude.

PTI

Updated:April 18, 2018, 1:06 PM IST
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TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit Kicks Up Storm With Pat on Journalist's Cheek After Press Meet on 'Sex for Degrees' Scandal
TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit chose to respond to questions of a journalist by patting on her cheek. (Photo: @lakhinathan)
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit courted controversy on Tuesday when he diplomatically patted a woman journalist, apparently to parry a question, with the DMK terming the incident as "unbecoming" of a person holding a Constitutional post.

The incident took place when the 78-year-old Governor was about to leave the venue of the crowded press conference at the Raj Bhavan, which was all set to conclude.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi tweeted "even if the intention is above supsicion, a person who holds a public office has to understand that there is a decorum to it and violating a woman journalist's personal space does not reflect the dignity or the respect which should be shown to any human being."




"It is not only unfortunate, but unbecoming of a person holding a constitutional post," DMK Working President MK Stalin said on his Twitter handle.




The woman journalist, working with a leading English magazine said in her tweet, "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 (sic)."

sexism-cartoon
A satirical take on the sexism Indian women face in every field. (Mir Suhail/News18.com)

The journalist, Lakshmi Subramanian further said, "Here is what I have to say his excellency Governor Mr Banwarilal Purohit... so agitated... Mr Purohit. it might be an act of appreciation by you and grandfatherly attitude, but to me you are wrong (sic)."

She further said it was unprofessional behaviour and completely uncalled for to touch a stranger without consent.

Purohit was addressing a press conference where he denied any association with the professor who was arrested on Tuesday morning for allegedly advising students "to adjust with some officials" at Madurai Kamaraj University in return for higher marks and money.

Nirmala Devi, of Devanga Arts College, had claimed she was close to the Governor, who is the chancellor of the university.

“I have not seen her face till date. What are you talking. It is nonsense, baseless (on how he is being questioned by the home ministry on sexual harassment cases against him),” said the Governor to reporters this evening.

The woman though can be heard bragging in the audio clip that "you know how close I was to the Governor".

"Certain incidents happen. Governor is not a grandfather. You know how close I was to the Governor. I can now be more liberal, but people outside won't know. If I tell you who it is, you will give me answer faster. They will maintain secrecy and privacy to that level," Nirmala Devi can be heard boasting in the audio clip.

The Governor said that the guilty will be brought to book and admitted that there was some mistake on the part of Vice chancellor’s office. "The guilty has to be punished. We have set up a one-man committee. Strict action will be taken against whoever is guilty. There was some mistake on the part of VC's office,” said the Governor.

Purohit though ruled out the CBI inquiry into the matter. "State government cannot interfere in matters of universities. After receiving the report from the committee, we will see if we should transfer the case to the CBI. If it (CBI probe) is needed, I will be the first to order," said the Governor.

The Governor, who is the Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, had on Monday evening set up a 'high powered' enquiry committee to look into çertain 'immoral happenings' surrounding the lecturer.

Student Organisations too had staged a protest on Tuesday outside Anna University demanding a thorough investigation and said that the Governor step down. While the state government maintained that the accused will be brought to book, the opposition parties demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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