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President accepts Meghalaya Governor's resignation

President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday accepted the resignation of Meghalaya Governor V. Shanmuganathan, who put in his papers on Thursday following charges of sexual harassment against him.

Shanmuganathan, who also held the additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh, tendered his resignation to "ensure a free and impartial probe into the charges against him".

His resignation came after nearly 100 employees of the Raj Bhavan in Shillong on Wednesday, sent a five-page letter to the Prime Minister's Office and the Rashtrapati Bhavan demanding recall of the Governor for what they alleged was "turning the Raj Bhavan into a Young Ladies Club".

According to a Rashtrapati Bhavan media statement, Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit will act as the the Governor of Meghalaya in the interim, while Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya will take over additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh.

From the time Shanmuganathan took over, the Raj Bhavan employees alleged, they were going through "severe humiliation, mental stress and torture".

The protest letter by the Raj Bhavan staff came after an English daily report quoted a woman who accused the Governor of making advances by "hugging and kissing her".

The woman was one of seven candidates selected for an interview for the post of a Public Relations Officer at the Raj Bhavan.

The Governor had denied the charges.

Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded criminal action be initiated against Shanmuganathan.

"We are demanding an FIR (first information report) be filed against him and an enquiry be conducted. The allegations against him are serious," said Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan.

Besides the Congress and the Janata Dal United demanding his removal, civil society groups in Meghalaya had launched a signature campaign to demand the immediate recall of the Governor.

Shanmuganathan, 68, a veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist from Tamil Nadu, was sworn in as Meghalaya Governor on May 20, 2015.

He was given the additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh from September 16, 2016. He was also Governor in charge of Manipur from September 2015 to August 2016.

He is expected to arrive in the national capital on the day.
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