Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit has apologised to the journalist who had accused him of “patronisingly — and without her consent — patting her on the cheek”, saying he regrets his action but did so in order to appreciate a good question.
In a letter addressed to Lakshmi Subramanian, a journalist who works for The Week magazine, Purohit wrote his act of patting her on the cheek were “affectionate” in nature in appreciation for the question she had posed to him. He added that he considered Subramanian to be like his granddaughter.
The following is the text of Purohit’s letter:
I have received your email dated 18.04.2018. You had asked a question when we had got up and were proceeding to leave after the close of the press conference. 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. 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. I do understand from your mail that you are feeling hurt about the incident. I wish to express my regret and my apologies to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt. I suppose you will respond through a mail of acknowledgement.
Responding to Purohit’s letter, Subramanian said she accepted the apology, but insisted that she wasn’t convinced about his intention.
Your Excellency, I have with me your letter expressing regret at what happened at the press conference in Chennai the previous day. I accept your apology, even though I am not convinced about your contention that you did it to appreciate a question I asked @TheWeekLive pic.twitter.com/JhjPOQy8UW
— Lakshmi Subramanian (@lakhinathan) April 18, 2018
The incident in question took place on Tuesday evening, when the 78-year-old governor was about to leave the venue of a crowded press conference at the Raj Bhavan, which was all set to conclude. Just as he was about to get up and leave, Subramanian asked him about the performance of universities under the present government. “Sir, you said you are satisfied with the government’s performance. Are you satisfied when it comes to the performance of universities too?” she reportedly asked him, to which he patted her cheek and walked away.
She later wrote an detailed article about the incident on The Week, in which she has also detailed how she washed her face several times.