A Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Tamil Nadu on Thursday shared a Facebook post in which he made derogatory remarks about female journalists. S Ve Shekher shared the post, titled “Madurai University, Governor and the Virgin Cheeks of a Girl”, from the account of a user named Thirumalai S, about Governor Banwarilal Purohit patting a journalist on her cheek during a press conference.

“Recent complaints show that they [journalists] cannot become reporters or anchors without sleeping with big shots,” the post read, according to NDTV. “More than universities, sex abuse is rampant in the media. It’s these people who question the governor.”

“There are only few exceptions. I respect only them,” The Wire quoted from the post, which has now been deleted. Incidentally, the governor had apologised for patting the woman’s cheek.

I didn’t read the post fully before I shared it. I will never abuse anyone,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying. “I wanted to delete that post, but Facebook has blocked it. I cannot access my account for the next 24 hours.”

“I feel pity while looking at that woman journalist. She claims she was disturbed because the governor touched her. But when you read her tweets, it is understood that her intention was to target the Governor and Modi. It is actually the governor who has to wash his hands with Phenoyl after touching her. These (TN media persons) are cheap and disgusting creatures. Most people who work in the media in TN are usually  Illiterate, cheap and don’t have any general knowledge. This woman is not any different.”

— The post, according to The News Minute

The BJP leader claimed that Thirumalai, who lives in the United States, was a big supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Journalists gathered to protest in front of the BJP headquarters in Chennai on Friday, demanding action against Sekhar. Nearly 30 journalists were arrested for pelting stones at Sekhar’s house, reported The Indian Express.

Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi called the BJP leader’s post disgusting and said it deserved to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. “His defence that he shared someone else’s Facebook post is a facade,” she said on Twitter. “Shekhar’s Facebook post shows a despicable mindset. Posting something derogatory and deleting it subsequently has become a habit among BJP leaders.”

She said if the BJP’s leadership does not take action against Shekher, it will be construed that the party endorses these views. “Terming these as ‘personal opinion’ and distancing themselves, while allowing him to continue in BJP is nothing but a charade. I express my solidarity with all women journalists.”