CHENNAI: Defending its complaint against Tamil magazine Nakkheeran editor RR Gopal and his employees, Raj Bhavan on Friday issued a statement denying all allegations made in news reports.
In the statement, the office of Governor Banwarilal Purohit accused the magazine of “yellow journalism” or sensationalism and said there was no connection between him and the college professor accused in the case.
The Raj Bhavan also said that “it is a matter of humour to 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 given by her [Nirmala Devi] before the police will itself bear out the truth,” the statement said. The Raj Bhavan said it was maintaining a dignified silence for more than six months as the law was taking its own course and the matter was before the court for trial.
Chennai Police on Tuesday arrested Gopal based on Raj Bhavan’s complaint. However, the court ordered his release. The court also asked why police tried to charge Gopal under Section 124 IPC, which dealt with assault on President or Governor with intent to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power. It also questioned why he was arrested now for an article published in April. Nirmala Devi and V Murugan, two faculty members of Madurai Kamaraj University were arrested in April for allegedly luring students to provide sexual favours to senior varsity officials.
The statement issued by the joint director (PR) also said that “No threats direct or indirect on a constitutional authority as the Honourable Governor will be tolerated” and claimed that Raj Bhavan, “can and will never be cowed down by actions aimed at hurting the dignity of the High Office”.
The three-page statement did not however, address widespread criticism of the Raj Bhavan’s insistence on invoking Section 124 IPC. The statement said a complaint was given having been hurt by the continuous baseless slander. “It was indeed shocking to see a resurfacing of yellow journalism in an issue of the magazine Nakkheeran in late September after the charge sheets had been filed.”
‘Poor journalistic ethics’
Criticising the magazine for poor journalistic ethics, the Raj Bhavan said Devi had never entered the Raj Bhavan in the last one year and “she does not have any acquaintance with the Honourable Governor or any of the Officers working in the Raj Bhavan”. The Raj Bhavan also dismissed allegations of Purohit visiting the guest house of 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,” the statement said
‘Hurt by baseless slander’
The statement said a complaint was registered as the Governor’s office was hurt by the continuous baseless slander. “It was indeed shocking to see a resurfacing of yellow journalism in an issue of the magazine Nakkheeran in late September after the charge sheets had been filed and all investigation completed,” the statement said adding that those who claimed to have undertaken investigative journalism had not even bothered to verify the actual statement given by Nirmala Devi to the police.