Chennai: A collective of journalists in Tamil Nadu have lashed out against Governor Banwarilal Purohit for patting the cheek of a lady reporter without taking her permission. In a letter addressed to him late on Tuesday night, the journalists have demanded that he should issue an unconditional apology.
The incident occurred when Purohit had called a press conference to speak on a case which involves a professor allegedly luring students to sexual encounters and who had claimed to have known the Governor. Lakshmi Subramanian, a senior journalist for a well-known weekly magazine, was also present for the press conference and when she asked Purohit a question, he patted her on the cheek without her consent without giving an answer. She later took to Twitter to vent her anger at how her personal space had been invaded upon.
In their letter to Purohit, the collective of TN journalists too have sought to remind him that his act was even more shocking because he is a constitutional figure. "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," read the letter. "It, however, does not behove the Constitutional head of a State to throw basic courtesy and respect to the winds and attempt to touch a lady without her consent, even if the gesture may have been ‘paternal’ in nature. "
The letter then reminded Purohit of provisions in the law which prohibit harassment and make it a cognisable offence which is also non-bailiable. "Mr Governor, we the journalists of Tamil Nadu demand that you offer an unconditional apology to the journalist in question and also assure all journalists of Tamil Nadu that you will not violate their rights in the future," the letter read in conclusion.
Although there has been some support for Purohit online since the lady reporter first tweeted - many claiming that it was 'good touch', most agree that it is the act itself and not the intention which should be frowned upon.