Video: Indian minister slaps woman seeking help, later denies assault

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An Indian minister was videotaped slapping a woman who approached him for help, local media reported on Sunday.

The BJP party’s Minister for Housing and Infrastructure Development V. Somanna was in the south-Indian state of Karnataka when the incident took place.

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Somanna was at the Hangala village distributing government-allotted land and its relevant title deeds, the Times of India reported.

The woman who was slapped, identified as Kempamma, was part of a group of women who were raising their voice against the official demanding more transparency in the selection of beneficiaries of the allotments, TOI reported.

As Kempamma got closer to the minister asking about her title deed, the minister was captured striking her across the face by various videographers and journalists on the scene.

Shortly after the minsiter hit the woman, the video showed the woman touch the official’s feet, a sign of respect to elders and those in power in Indian culture.

Karnataka Congress, the leading opposition party in the state, released a video of the incident on social media, calling for the minister’s immediate resignation.

They claimed that the action “exposed the misogynistic culture” of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party in Karnataka.

However, in a turn of events, Kempamma told local and national media later that the minister “accidentally touched her while she was trying to reach for his legs seeking allotment of the site,” TOI reported.

The woman reportedly received her title deed later that day. She also claimed that she “worships his photograph at home,” The Hindu reported.

Meanwhile, the 72-year-old minister apologized and was quoted as saying by TOI: “I (was) assuring the woman that I will resolve her problem and moved her (away). I didn’t slap her.”

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