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Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 02/08/2012

India ministers resign after being accused of watching porn during state assembly

Update: An earlier version of the post said the ministers were watching the clip while in Parliament. They watched the clip during the state assembly.

“I don’t favor women wearing provocative clothes,” C.C. Patil, minister for women and child development in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, said last month.


The chief minister of Karnataka arrives at the state assembly session in which three ministers were caught watching porn. (STR - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
And yet yesterday Patil, along with two other ministers from a morally conservative party, was accused of watching pornography on a cellphone during a session of the state assembly, the Associated Press reports.

To add to the irony that Patil had recently advocated for a women’s dress code, India last week announced it was censoring Google and Facebook, in large part because of worries about pornographic content appearing there.

The three politicians from Karnataka resigned Wednesday, saying that although they were not “deliberately” looking at porn, they did not want to cause any embarrassment for their party, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Indian news channels on Wednesday broadcast footage of Laxman Savadi, the state minister for cooperation, watching the video clip on a phone and then handing the phone to Patil. The phone reportedly belonged to the state minister for ports, Krishna Palemar, who also resigned.

On Wednesday, women’s right activists, right-wing Hindu groups and the ruling Congress party expressed anger over the incident. Protesters also gathered outside the homes of the three ministers in Bangalore, Karnataka’s capital.


Activists from the All India Democratic Students Organization stage a protest against the three BJP ministers in Bangalore on Wednesday. (STR - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
“We live in a country where there already is this social mind-set that women are disposable commodities,” Renuka Chowdhary, a former federal minister for women's development and a member of the Congress Party, told an affiliate of CNN. “It really is troubling that the people who are in positions of power and have the responsibility to change things actually have the same mind-set and are busy watching porn.”

In London, a similar and perhaps even more shocking story played out Wednesday, after a judge noticed a court clerk was watching bondage pornography during a rape trial. The clerk told the court he “only looked at porn if the case was boring.”

Do you think the BJP ministers should have resigned? Let us know in the comments below.

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By  |  11:06 AM ET, 02/08/2012

Tags:  World, India, Karnataka, ministers, porn, scandal

 
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