India ministers in Karnataka quit amid pornography row

  • Published
Laxman Savadi
Image caption,
Mr Savadi denied watching porn

Two ministers in the Indian state of Karnataka have resigned after they were accused of watching pornography in the state assembly.

Footage showed Laxman Savadi apparently watching a clip on a phone and sharing it with his colleague, CC Patil, the minister for women and children.

Another minister, Krishna Palemar, the phone's reported owner, also quit.

The pair denied watching porn but said they quit to prevent embarrassment to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

There was public outrage after news channels ran the story on Tuesday evening, and opposition parties demanded the resignation of the ministers.

"I have resigned to prevent any embarrassment to the party. All three of us will prove our innocence," Mr Savadi said.

An inquiry has been ordered.

'Rave party debate'

The footage of the ministers was captured by news channels positioned in the media galleries during a debate in the state assembly.

It shows Mr Savadi, the minister for co-operation, watching a clip on a mobile phone and then showing it to Mr Patil.

The clip appeared to show a woman dancing, undressing and then having sex.

Image caption,
The incident generated protests in Bangalore against the politicians

"Why should I resign?" Mr Savadi asked on Tuesday. "The video I watched was of a woman being raped by four people. It was not porn."

He said he was watching the footage to "prepare for a discussion [in the assembly] on the ill-effects of a rave party" in the state recently.

Mr Patil told reporters: "We are not so uncivilised as to watch porn films."

Mr Palemar, the state minister for ports and environment, said his innocence would be proved by the inquiry.

Correspondents say the incident has come as a major embarrassment for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government.

The government has already been rocked by corruption scandals, leading to the resignation of former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa last year.