A huge controversy quite rightly erupted after a reporter from a TV news channel was told to leave the front row of an event and go and sit at the back, just because she was a woman.

She claimed that she was asked to vacate her seat in the front row as organisers forcibly asked her to move saying, “In our culture women cannot occupy the front seat.”

The move came despite the fact that the first row was reserved for journalists and the event was a felicitation ceremony for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Fadnavis was being felicitated by the Shree Santacruz Jain Tapagachha Sangh for his government’s decision to ban the slaughter of cows and calves.

It is shocking that even after some intervention, women reporters were told to sit in the fourth row onwards, behind the men. It is important to note that the women journalists were there to do their job, which was to report on the event.

If the organisers had a problem with women, they needed to shift the function elsewhere or cancel it altogether, given the large number of women in the media these days. It is reprehensible that they were told to go and sit behind the men.

It is creditable that the BJP Mumbai chief, Ashish Shelar, intervened and even CM Fadnavis, when told about the incident, criticised the attitude of the community in his speech, saying that if we do not treat women as equals in the 21st century, we are not going to move ahead on the path of development.

We cannot discriminate using one pretext or the other. This is a caveman kind of attitude and certainly not befitting a nation which, at all times, claims to be leaps ahead, economically and socially.

Treat women as professionals, equal to men. They have a right to sit on chairs reserved for the press, because that is what they are: journalists, pure and simple. Using religion to justify this treatment is despicable. Speak out against it and stamp it out, right now.