On Tuesday, Journalist Lakshmi Subramanian from The Week posted a picture of herself being patted on the cheek by Tamilnadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit after a press conference was called by him on Monday evening followed by a tweet that said, “I asked TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit a question as his press conference was ending. He decided to patronizingly – and without consent – pat me on the cheek as a reply.”
Immediately after it was posted the photo and tweet went viral, creating an outrage in social media, especially among journalists who spoke of the act as patronizing, unprofessional and violating consent. Two hours after the tweet, hashtags like #DontTouchMeGoverner went trending.
There were some who supported the 78-year-old Governor, claiming it might be unintentional. The Governor himself apologized to the journalist in a letter to her saying, “I considered that question to be a good one. Therefore as an act of appreciation for the question that you had posted, I gave a pat on your cheek considering you to be like my granddaughter,” Lakshmi made her viewpoints clear in an interview for NDTV stating, “The Governor is a Constitutional Head and I am a journalist – this grandfather, granddaughter thing does not work.” Lakshmi said the pat was a response to her question on his Tamil teacher, which she asked as an extension to another reporter’s question to his improvement in language.
DMK leaders MK Stalin and Kanimozhi condemned the Governor’s actions in their tweets.
Kanimozhi tweeted saying, “Even if the intention is above suspicion, 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.”
On the other hand, Stalin stated “It is unfortunate and is definitely not something befitting a person holding a public office,”
The Governor had called the press conference after Nirmala Devi, a professor at Devanga Arts College, who was accused of making implicit requests for sexual favors to her students for the officials of the Madurai Kamaraj University, claimed she knew the Governor, who is the chancellor of the university.
Report – Rabeeha Abdurehim