Chennai: After a massive outrage over his “pat on cheek” to a woman journalist at a press conference, apparently to parry a question, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday offered his regret and apologies to her.
The incident took place in Raj Bhavan on Tuesday when the journalist attending a press meet raised a question as he got up and was proceeding to leave.
Writing to journalist Lakshmi Subramanian, the Governor said he had patted her cheek in «appreciation for the question» she had posed.
«… I gave a pat on your cheek considering you to be like my granddaughter. 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,” Purohit wrote in the letter,» Purohit said in a mail to the journalist, after a complaint was preferred by the latter to him.
Earlier, the Chennai Press Club had sought an apology from the Governor for his “unbecoming conduct,” as the governor, being the constitutional head of the state, is expected to set an example by his words and actions. “But we are sorry to say, your behaviour in yesterday’s press meet was neither exemplary nor condonable,” a statement said.
Reacting to the apology, Subramanian said she accepted the apology, but was “not convinced about your (Governor’s) contention”.
On Tuesday, the Raj Bhavan convened a rare press conference in the backdrop of a purported telephonic conversation Nirmala Devi — an assistant professor in an Aruppukottai college — had with her four girl students in which she mentioned the governor. At the press conference the Governor denied any association with the professor.
The audio tape went viral on social media after the girls complained to authorities that the assistant professor was trying to lure them to offer sexual favours to “higher-ups” in return for higher marks and money.