Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit held a press conference on Tuesday to clear his name from a controversy over a sex scandal in a college in the state. However, the former sparked another row by patting the cheek of a female journalist, without her consent.
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."
The journalist further said, "here is what I have to say his excellency Governor Mr Banwarilal Purohit... so agitated and angered... Mr Purohit. it might be an act of appreciation by you and grandfatherly attitude, but to me you are wrong." She further said it was unprofessional behaviour and completely uncalled for to touch a stranger without consent.
Following the outrage over the incident, the Governor tendered an apology to the female journalist for patting her cheek. The journalist accepted Governor Purohit's apology but refused to buy his "grandfatherly pat" justification. "I accept your apology, even though I am not convinced about your contention that you did it to appreciate a question I asked," she said.
What actually happened
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 M K Stalin said in his Twitter handle.
The Governor had held the press conference to clear off his name from a raging controversy over a sex scandal in a college in the state involving an assistant professor, who allegedly sought to lure girls into sexual favours to "higher ups" in a leading university.
Nirmala Devi, an assistant professor in Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district has been arrested on the charge of suggesting to some girl students that they yield themselves to keep the "higher-ups" in the Madurai Kamaraj University happy so that the college gets facilities. She is heard making the demand in an audio clip that went viral on the social media.
In the audio clip, Nirmala Devi was heard saying that she was on the dais moving around at a function in which the Governor was present and she has access to top officials. However, no names were said in that audio clip.