banwari lal
Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit.  IANS
  • Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit patted a female reporter on the cheek during a press conference
  • The journalist expressed her disapproval to his act on Twitter and called him 'unprofessional'
  • Journalists in the state had demanded an apology from Purohit and opposition party members had also condemned the act
  • The Raj Bhavan has not yet commented on the incident
  • Political leaders in TN have taken to streets and are demanding for Purohit's resignation
  • Purohit issued an apology to Lakshmi Wednesday afternoon

Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit, who has landed in a controversy Tuesday after he allegedly patted a woman journalist on her cheek without her consent at a presser has apologized for his act.

The incident had enraged several journalists who had demanded an apology from the governor.

The incident took place during a press conference at the Raj Bhavan which Purohit had called to clear his name in the controversy involving Nirmala Devi, a professor at the Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai who was arraigned for allegedly prompting students to offer sex in return for favors from university officials. 

Purohit says he patted journalist's cheek to appreciate her

During the presser, the journalist, who works for an English magazine, asked a question to the 78-year-old Purohit. It was then that he allegedly patted her on the cheek.

"I considered that question to be a good one. Therefore as an act of appreciation for the question that you had posed, I gave a pat on your cheek considering you to be like my granddaughter," The Week quoted Purohit as saying in a letter to Lakshmi.

"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," he said.

"I wish to express my regret and my apologies to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt," he added

Reporter had called Purohit 'unprofessional'

The reporter had taken to Twitter to air her disapproval over the governor's behavior.

She had further called Purohit's behavior unprofessional and uncalled for.

"This, moments after he dismissed a barrage of questions about allegations of sexual misconduct against himself. Unprofessional behavior - and completely uncalled for to touch a stranger without her consent, especially a woman," she tweeted.

Journalists demand apology

The act was also condemned by several journalists, who had demanded an apology in a letter sent to the governor.

"Your action today in touching the cheek of a senior lady reporter who asked you a question at the press meet was patronizing at best and a violation of her rights as a woman at worst.

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.

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."

Opposition slams Purohit

The opposition parties in Tamil Nadu had also slammed Purohit. The former governor of Assam was appointed the governor of Tamil Nadu on September 30, 2017.

"It is not only unfortunate, but unbecoming of a person holding a constitutional post," DMK Working President MK Stalin said on Twitter. As of Wednesday afternoon, political leaders in TN have taken to streets and are demanding for Purohit's resignation.

The Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan has not responded to the incident so far.

Purohit's name had cropped up in an audio clip wherein Devi was heard talking to some students suggesting that they keep 'higher-ups' happy so that the college gets facilities. The leaked audio clip had gone viral on social media.