India: Governor resigns after ‘ladies club’ allegations

Meghalaya state governor resigns after a petition signed by more than 80 employees accuses him of sexual misconduct.

India''s Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The petition was addressed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi [Reuters]

An Indian governor has resigned from office after allegations of sexual harassment made against him by dozens of his staff members.

V Shanmuganathan, 67, handed in his notice as governor of Meghalaya late on Thursday, and his resignation was formally accepted by President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday.

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His resignation came after a petition calling for his immediate removal was signed by more than 80 employees at the governor’s official residence.

The petition, which was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accused Shanmuganathan of running a “young ladies club” at the residence.

The letter alleged that “two public relations officers, a cook and a nurse … all of whom are women” had been appointed on “night duty”.

Staff members claimed that “his activities [have] hurt the decorum and prestige of the Raj Bhavan [official residence] as well as sentiments of the Raj Bhavan employees”.

“Young ladies come and go at will on direct orders of the governor … many of them have direct access to his bedroom,” claimed the petition, which was posted on local media websites.

Employees also alleged that Shanmuganathan’s “immoral activities” were well-known in the state capital, Shillong.

The petition added that he purposefully rearranged the staff rotation and “made only all the young girls to work for him”.

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One day before his resignation, however, Shanmuganathan had denied all charges made against him, according to local media reports. 

When accused of inviting female job candidates to his residence and making physical advances, Shanmuganathan said on Tuesday: “I wanted to meet them before finalising the candidates.”

He referred to his female employees as “daughters and grand-daughters”, and said that he held “great respect for everyone”.

He added: “I have not done anything wrong.”

The resigning governor reportedly told local media that the allegations were possibly made by vengeful candidates who were not chosen for any of the job openings.

Shanmuganathan had taken office as governor of Meghalaya in 2015.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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