Flix Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 05:30
A Mumbai-based journalist and Mumbai's Deputy Mayor were both allegedly discriminated against at an event organised by a religious organisation on Thursday simply because they were women. Rashmi Puranik, who is with ABP Majha, left a programme organised to felicitate Maharastra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis halfway even though she was on assignment after organisers asked her to vacate her seat in a row supposedly reserved for men. She was sent to cover an event organised by the Swami Narayan Temple in the Santa Cruz area of Mumbai in which Fadnavis was to be felicitated for enacting the law that banned beef in the state.  However, an eyewitness who requested anonymity said that organisers asked Puranik to sit in the fourth row in the rows set aside for the media, as women sat behind men according to the temple's customs. The eyewitness said that Puranik was the first journalist to arrive at the event, and that organisers had directed her to the section set aside for the media. When she occupied a seat in the front row, volunteers turned up and asked her to move to the fourth row as "women should sit behind men".  Puranik brought this to the notice of a BJP MLA who was nearby, and on the latter's intervention, the volunteers did not disturb Puranik for some time. However, when he moved away, they returned and repeated their earlier demand. One of the volunteers even told her: "Women must sit behind men. Even in our families, women sit behind the men." For Purank, this was even worse, and she said that if this was the case, the invitation sent to the media should have clearly specified that women should not be sent to cover the event. The man even said that according to the temple's protocol, no woman was allowed to sit within a certain distance of the Swami. Due to this rule, even Mumbai Deputy Mayor, Alka Kerkar was not allowed to sit on the stage. Describing the incident as "insulting", Puranik tweeted that she left the assignment halfway. The eyewitness said that when the volunteers were heckling Puranik, no other journalist was present. After some time, another woman journalist and a junior reporter had turned up, but Puranik had decided to leave even before the event had begun.  Kerkar told India Today that she was told about the separate seating arrangement, but later, when the Fadnavis was informed of the treatment meted out to Puranik and Kerkar, organisers invited Kerkar on to the stage. Addressing the gathering, after he arrived, Fadnavis said he was "appalled" at the events and that it was unfortunate that such a thing happened even in the 21st century. Tweeting about the incident later, Puranik pointed out the irony in the situation: "Twice they asked me to get up n sit in 4th row..Hence i left d programme..Dis is pathetic..you care for Cow..but you treat women badly." Earlier in the day, Puranik put out a series of tweets. Went to swami Narayan mandir to cover dis programme..Organizer told me don't sit in first three rows.. pic.twitter.com/kwgogV9Q8U — रश्मी पुराणिक (@Marathi_Rash) April 30, 2015       First three rows are for Men..And in our culture women are supposed to sit behind..I tld organizer dis is insulting and wrong — रश्मी पुराणिक (@Marathi_Rash) April 30, 2015       I told organizer when you were sending invitations you shuld hve tld Media houses tht dn't send woman journo. — रश्मी पुराणिक (@Marathi_Rash) April 30, 2015       Organizer tld me our own Mother,sisters are sitting in Back rows..I tld them dis is even Wrong... — रश्मी पुराणिक (@Marathi_Rash) April 30, 2015 And finally, an opinion     Twice they asked me to get up n sit in 4th row..Hence i left d programme..Dis is pathetic..you care for Cow..but you treat women badly. — रश्मी पुराणिक (@Marathi_Rash) April 30, 2015  

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