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Female journalist calls out governor for touching her without consent; hundreds rally behind her

/ 07:49 PM April 18, 2018

Image: Twitter/@lakhinathan

An Indian female journalist cried foul against Banwarilal Purohit, state governor of Tamil Nadu, after he touched her without her consent, during a press conference in Chennai.

Lakshmi Subramanian was asking governor Purohit yesterday, Tuesday, hardhitting questions about the sexual misconduct allegations thrown against him, when he “patronizingly” reached his hand out to touch her on the cheek, as per the Times of India today.

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Subramanian has since taken to Twitter, where she aired her grievances about the governor’s actions. “I asked TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit a question as his press conference was ending,” tweeted Subramanian yesterday. “He decided to patronizingly — and without consent — pat me on the cheek as a reply.”

“This, moments after he dismissed a barrage of questions about allegations of sexual misconduct against himself,” followed up Subramanian in another Tweet on April 17. “Unprofessional behaviour — and completely uncalled for to touch a stranger without her consent, especially a woman.”

Subramanian also wrote an open letter addressed to governor Purohit in the The Week magazine, which she writes for. There, she expressed her anger about his actions:

“Governor Banwarilal Purohit, I am angered and agitated. You didn’t answer my questions, but you decided to patronisingly, and without my consent, pat on my cheek as a reply. To you, it might be a mark of appreciation, and a ‘grandfatherly’ gesture… But to me, it was an uninvited gesture as I wanted only answers and not a pat on my cheek.”

Subramanian shared in her letter that after the governor patted her cheek, she rushed to the washroom and washed her face several times. She stated, “When I narrated my ordeal on Twitter, many trolled me. But there were many who supported me too. And I sincerely thank them.”

After the incident, about 200 journalists offered their support to Subramanian by demanding an apology from governor Purohit. Journalist Sandy Ravishankar shared a picture on Twitter yesterday, April 17, of the email they sent to the governor, containing all the names of the journalists rallying behind Subramanian.

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It seems their outcry has been heeded. In Subramanian’s latest Twitter update, as of this writing, she posted a picture of governor Purohit’s apology letter, dated April 18. But despite accepting his apology, Subramanian maintains that she is not convinced of the governor’s assertions.

“Your Excellency, I have with me your letter expressing regret at what happened at the press conference in Chennai the previous day,” she wrote. “I accept your apology, even though I am not convinced about your contention that you did it to appreciate a question I asked.” Cody Cepeda/JB

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TAGS: India, journalists, Sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, Tamil Nadu
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