Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who came for serious flak from several quarters for patting the cheek of a woman journalist instead of responding to her question at a presser, on Wednesday apologized. In a letter on the Governor of Tamil Nadu letterhead, Purohit said what he did was an “act of appreciation” and he considered the lady journalist as his “grand-daughter”. The female journalist has accepted the apology.
“… 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 grand-daughter. 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,” the Governor said in the letter addressed to the female journalist. Purohit further said,”I do understand from your mail that you are feeling hurt about the incident…express my regret and my apologies to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt.”
The journalist has accepted the apology but said she wasn’t convinced with his contention that what he did was an act of appreciation as claimed in the letter. “Your excellency I accept your apology even though I am not convinced about your contention that you did it appreciate a question I asked,” the journalist said.
The scribe, who works for an English daily, had vented her anger over the incident and said she was “transfixed for a moment” by Purohit’s gesture. The journalist said in her tweet: “I asked TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit a question as his press conference was ending. He decided to patronisingly ? and without consent ? pat me on the cheek as a reply.” She had also said, “here is what I have to say his excellency Governor Mr Banwarilal Purohit… so agitated… Mr Purohit. it might be an act of appreciation by you and grandfatherly attitude, but to me you are wrong.”
The incident has evoked sharp criticism from politicos, with the DMK terming the incident as “unbecoming” of a person holding a Constitutional post. DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi tweeted: “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.”
“It is not only unfortunate but unbecoming of a person holding a constitutional post,” DMK Working President M K Stalin said on his Twitter handle.