Television footage showed the ministers watching the clip on a fellow minister's mobile phone [File: GALLO/GETTY]

Three government ministers in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have resigned after being accused of watching a pornographic video during an assembly meeting.

The ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules Karnataka, ordered the three to step down after local television aired footage on Tuesday of the men watching the allegedly pornographic video while other politicians were debating legislation.

The ministers on Wednesday denied they were watching pornography, but said they were resigning to save their party from embarrassment.

"We have resigned to avoid embarrassment to our party and not give the opposition an opportunity to disrupt the assembly proceedings today," Laxman Savadi, the state minister for co-operation, told reporters.

"We were watching a clipping of an incident for a discussion on the rave parties held at St Mary's Island (on the western coast of Karnataka). It was not a porn clip," he said.

The governor of Karnataka accepted the resignations.

Resignations demanded

Television footage showed Savadi watching the clip on his mobile phone and then passing the phone to C C Patil, minister for women and child development.

In the footage, the ministers can be seen watching a woman dancing, undressing and then indulging in a sex act, the AFP news agency reported.

The mobile phone belonged to the minister for ports, Krishna Palemar, who also resigned.

Soon after television stations aired the footage, angry residents of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, held protests outside the homes of the three ministers, demanding their resignation.

"It is a shameless act. The three ministers have submitted their resignation. We will set up an inquiry committee to probe the incident," said Nirmala Sitharaman, a spokeswoman for the BJP in New Delhi.

Source: Agencies