Politics

Meghalaya Governor V. Shanmuganathan Steps Down After Molestation Allegations

As many as 80 of his staff members wrote a letter to the president and prime minister demanding Shanmuganathan’s removal for compromising the dignity of Raj Bhavan.

Women activists protesting in front of Raj Bhavan on January 26. Credit: By special arrangement

Women activists protesting in front of Raj Bhavan on January 26. Credit: By special arrangement

New Delhi: Meghalaya governor V. Shanmuganathan resigned from his post late on Thursday night (January 26) following a allegations of sexual misconduct by a woman job applicant.

Although the governor had denied the charge from Itanagar on January 24 – he is also the governor of Arunachal Pradesh – as many as 80 of his staff members wrote a letter addressed to the president and prime minister demanding his removal for ‘seriously compromising the dignity’ of the Raj Bhavan and converting it into ‘a young ladies club’.

Letter addressed to the president. Credit: By special arrangement

Letter addressed to the president. Credit: By special arrangement

In response to the five-page letter, the opposition Congress sought the governor’s immediate dismissal on January 26, saying “There is an issue of constitutional propriety involved.”

“The shocked nation is asking the prime minister of India that isn’t it time that you sack this governor,” Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan told reporters.

On January 26, activists from two prominent women’s organisations, Civil Society Women Organisation and Thma U Rangli, held a protest in front of the Raj Bhavan demanding action against the governor. Over 400 participants signed a letter addressed to the president seeking his intervention for an independent investigation into the allegations.

As per the latest reports, late on Thursday night, Shanmuganathan conveyed to the Centre that he had decided to step down from the post. As per Raj Bhavan sources, he asked an office assistant to send his personal belongings to Guwahati on January 27 so that he could collect them en route to New Delhi.

As per the Highland Post, the woman who accused the governor had applied for a job as a public relations officer and was asked to come to the Raj Bhavan for a personal interview with the governor at 7 pm on December 8. “The governor allegedly made advances by hugging and kissing her to even offering her ‘part time or full time job’ inside the Raj Bhavan,” the news report said quoting the woman.

Shanmuganathan had denied the allegation and told reporters, “We have selected only one person and some people were not selected and, because they were not selected they should not say all these things”.

The woman was among the seven candidates shortlisted for the post.

Shanmuganathan, a senior member of the RSS, took over the post of governor in May 2015. He held additional charge of Manipur from September 2015 to August 2016 where he courted controversy by asking the state’s artistes to write an essay on culture and offered the winner the sop of having a cup of tea with him at the Raj Bhavan.