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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Days after journalist’s arrest, TN Raj Bhavan slams media for ‘yellow journalism’, denies Governor’s links with Nirmala Devi

The statement comes days after journalist R Gopal, editor of Tamil bi-weekly Nakkeeran, was arrested for the reports against TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | New Delhi | Updated: October 12, 2018 2:49:28 pm
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit statement on journalist arrest, nirmala devi case Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit (File Photo)

Following backlash over the arrest of weekly magazine Nakkeeran’s editor, R Gopal, the governor’s office on Friday issued a statement denying all the allegations made in the reports, and explained what forced the filing of a police complaint against him and others. An FIR had been filed against the magazine’s editor for reports it published linking Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Raj Bhavan to a university sex scandal.

The statement maintained that “Nirmala Devi has never entered Raj Bhavan in the last one year and she does not have any acquaintance with the Honourable Governor or the Secretary to the Governor or any of the Officers working in the Raj Bhavan”. The statement added that the Governor had never visited the university guest house when he was invited there for the Mother Theresa University Convocation, which was being held in the Madurai Kamaraj University.

“He has at no point of time stayed in the guest house,” the statement said.

The Nakkeeran editor’s arrest came after a series of reports alleged the role of the governor and his officers, and that the main accused in the university sex scandal had visited them.

“The Secretary to the Honourable Governor did not even accompany him on any visit to the Madurai Kamaraj University. It can only be a deep sense of hatred towards goodness and truth that could have driven any journalist to have written the articles in the manner they appeared in the Nakkeeran,” the statement said. A Nakkeeran report had mentioned the alleged role of Governor Purohit’s secretary, R Rajagopal, a senior IAS officer in Tamil Nadu.

The main accused in the alleged university sex scandal, Devi, was arrested in April. The arrest came after an audio clip of her purported conversation with female students went viral on social media in which she was heard asking her students to ‘adjust’ with some ‘top officials’ by giving them sexual favours to get marks and money. Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have demanded the resignation of Governor Purohit.

Also read | Nakkeeran editor held for reports on Tamil Nadu Governor, freed after court order

The Raj Bhavan statement termed the Nakkeeran reports a ‘kind of yellow journalism’, and said,”It is a matter of regret that such utter falsehood and this kind of yellow journalism is being supported by respectable people who, it appears, are not aware of the facts.”

“It is with great consternation and a feeling of concern directed by public good that this press release is being issued today. India is a nation with a great culture and Tamil Nadu is particularly marked out by history for the great philosophical leadership that it has enjoyed over the centuries from Thiruvalluvar to Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. Hence it is to be asserted without a doubt that the people of the state will stand by the side of righteousness, truth and goodness,” the statement said.

“There is only absolute falsehood and not a shred of truthfulness in the links attributed to the Honourable Governor or the Raj Bhavan to the issue concerning a college Assistant Professor of Aruppukottai known by the name of Nirmala Devi. The statement given by her before the police will itself bear out the truth.

“This being the case, it is a matter of humour to hear people say that press freedom is being threatened on the count, of action, being taken under the law after much patience and tolerance to stop a slanderous, vulgar and cowardly way of attacking the first citizen of the state,” the statement said.

The statement added that every issue has its limits and that Raj Bhavan had maintained a dignified silence for more than six months after the issue came to light, since the matter was under investigation and subsequently placed before a court.

“It was indeed shocking to see a resurfacing of yellow journalism in an issue of the magazine Nakkeeran in late September after the charge sheets had been filed and all investigation completed. Those who claim to be engaged in investigative journalism have not even bothered to verify the actual statement given by Nirmala Devi before the police. The height of casualness and cowardice in journalistic ethics had been reached with the publishing of the article,” the statement said.

Referring to a number of personalities – from poet Subramania Bharathi to APJ Abdul Kalam – who “have done this state proud by their thoughts, deeds, speeches and writings”, the statement said, “It is to be understood that no action even bordering on the excessive use of state power will be initiated or supported by Raj Bhavan. Having been hurt by the continuous baseless slander, a complaint has been given under the law.”

The statement said that in a democracy there can be a healthy exchange of ideas, but no threats – direct or indirect – on a constitutional authority will be tolerated.

“The Raj Bhavan can and will never be cowed down by actions aimed at hurting the dignity of the High Office,” said the statement.

Read the entire statement issued by TN Raj Bhavan below.

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