IAS officer Smita Sabharwal, Additional Secretary to Telangana chief minister, has become an Internet sensation for being attractive and for suing a popular weekly magazine for publishing a sexist column on her.
The IAS officer has reportedly sent a five-page legal notice to Outlook magazine's editor-in-chief Krishna Prasad and Hyderabad-based assistant editor Madhavi Tata. Sabharwal has also called the caricature column on her a piece of "cheap, yellow journalism".
"It is a matter of professional pride. I have spent 14 long years in service. The write up hurt very badly. It made me think if they can do this to a bureaucrat, who is doing a serious job, possibly women across will be subjected to this sort of yellow journalism... and we must step up and put an end to it," NDTV quoted Sabharwal as saying.
The sexist column takes a dig at the fashion statement of the 2001 batch IAS officer of Telangana cadre and adds that her increasing popularity remains a mystery.
"The lady is present at every meeting and seen in almost every official photograph sent out by the CMO. But what she does exactly is a puzzle. She makes a fashion statement with her lovely saris and serves as "eye candy" at meetings, admit leading party politicians," the column titled 'No Boring Babu' hinted at Smita, without mentioning her name.
The magazine had also published a caricature of the 38-year-old IAS officer walking the ramp in a trouser and frilly top.
"The lovely lady, known for her ethnic style, recently stunned all by appearing in a trendy trouser and frilly top at a fashion show. And for once, she wasn't sitting in an official meeting. But this appearance too made for a great photo op," the column adds.
Shame on outlook to write such a sexist piece. This lady officer is one of the most upright, capable officers pic.twitter.com/H7v4YGu6DY
— sunitha krishnan (@sunita_krishnan) June 28, 2015
Following this, social media users have been attacking the magazine for its sexist and offensive statements.
Similarly, Merin Joseph from Kerala, then an IPS trainee, had also become an Internet sensation in 2014, after her photo went viral for being attractive.
Below are netizens' reactions to the controversial article:
Iam with #SmitaSabharwal We are future & Don't Be Demotivated by Perverts Says IAS Officer Who Has Sued Outlook
The track record of Smita Sabharwal as a collector of Karimnagar & Medak is impeccable. Presstitues do no background work
Our women now have a new role model & eternally juvenile generation of Ma-ka-Lallu men a kick on their butts, both by brave Smita Sabharwal
Well done Smita Sabharwal. Outlook indeed lives in the dark ages-smart women need to be dowdy.
IAS officer Smita Sabharwal hits back after being called "arm candy". Shame on you @Outlook
Shame on Indian media to defame an honest officer @smitasabharwal Yellow Journalism soon find its grave
S M Hussain
Deeply hurt and disappointed reading a stupid article about Smita Sabharwal. Shame on outlook magazine for allowing it to be printed.