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TN Governor Apologises Over ‘Pat on Cheek’ Row; Not Convinced About Your Contention, Says Journalist

Writing to journalist Lakshmi Subramanian, the governor said he had patted her cheek in “appreciation for the question” she had posed.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:April 18, 2018, 5:17 PM IST
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TN Governor Apologises Over ‘Pat on Cheek’ Row; Not Convinced About Your Contention, Says Journalist
TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit chose to respond to questions of a journalist by patting on her cheek. (Photo: @lakhinathan)
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Chennai: Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit has apologised to a woman journalist a day after courting controversy when he diplomatically patted her cheek, apparently to parry a question.

Writing to journalist Lakshmi Subramanian, the governor said he had patted her cheek in “appreciation for the question” she had posed.

“… I gave a pat on your cheek considering you to be like my granddaughter. It was done with affection and to express my appreciation for your performance as a journalist, since I was also a member of that profession for about 40 years,” Purohit wrote in the letter.

“I do understand from your email that you are feeling hurt about the incident. I wish to express my regret and apologies to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt,” the governor added.

Reacting to the apology, Subramanian said she accepted the apology, but was “not convinced about your (Governor’s) contention”.

Lakshmi Subramanian spoke to CNN-News18 and said that while she accepts the Governor’s apology, she is not convinced with Governor Purohit’s "pat of appreciation" concept.

“I accept his apology but I’m still not convinced with his contention saying it is part of appreciation. He is the Constitutional head and I am a journalist. For the question that I asked, he did not appreciate me and he could have obliged and said ‘no comments’ or just walked away. I don’t need any appreciation from the governor for a question. Why would I?"

The governor patted Subramanian on the cheek towards the end of the press conference when she asked the governor, “You said you are satisfied with the performance of the government. Can we take it that you are not satisfied with the performance of the university?”

A day after the incident, she said, “I was stunned for about 40 seconds after he patted me on my cheek. But after that, I walked down and wanted him to apologise. I was angry and wanted to tell the governor but he had left by then after which I sent an e-mail to the governor at 9 pm yesterday."



The incident took place when the 78-year-old Purohit was about to leave the venue of the crowded press conference at the Raj Bhavan on Tuesday.

A satirical take on the sexism faced by Indian women. (Mir Suhail/News18.com)
A satirical take on the sexism faced by Indian women. (Mir Suhail/News18.com)

The woman journalist, working with a leading English magazine said in a 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)."



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.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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