It's all fun and games until one participant of a heated TV debate gets up, taps on the shoulder of a fellow debater and socks him one.
This is exactly what happened when two guests debating the contentious topic of self-styled godwoman Radhe Ma, slapped and shoved each other during a live debate on a national news channel in India on Sunday.
Self-appointed godman Om Ji of the Hindu Mahasabha was engaged in a heated war of words with two women -- astrologer Rakhi Bai and Deepa Sharma, whom the channel described as ‘Dharma Guru’ (religious teacher) -- on TV show 'Aaj Ka Mudda' on IBN 7. The exchange infuriated Sharma, who decided she'd had enough and that it was time to take matters in her hands. Quite literally.
Astrologer & Godman in on-air brawl. These are the people who profess to be spiritual leaders! https://t.co/tyjtvzN6Jk— Sayoni Aiyar (@sayoniaiyar) September 13, 2015
She got up from her seat, walked up to a surprised Om Ji and tapped him on his shoulder to get his attenion and slapped him as horrified audiences looked on. The godman, clad in a red robe and with multiple beads around his neck, returned blow for blow shouting 'tu kya maaregi? yeh le! (you want to hit me? take this!)
Radhe Ma is embroiled in a case of alleged domestic violence, according to reports. TV actress Dolly Bindra, a former follower, alleged that she was being threatened by Radhe Ma. She wrote a letter to the Mumbai cops and registered a case against the flamboyant godwoman.
“How can you criticise Radhe Ma, you correct yourself first,” Om Ji was heard saying. When Rakhi protested, he said he was talking about Sharma. He referred to some alleged controversies about the family life of Sharma and criminal cases against her.
“Don't raise personal issues here,” Rakhi told the god man. Om Ji was seen slapping Sharma back and holding both her hands to prevent her from retaliating.
PTI reported that the channel has “condemned” the incident. “We invite responsible people to our shows and expect our guests to behave responsibly. We don’t expect such behaviour from them and condemn it,” it has said. N K Singh, general secretary of Broadcast Editors Association also disapproved of the incident. “The purpose of such shows is to give information from both sides and let viewers make a decision. This is shameful,” he said. (With inputs from PTI)
Users on Twitter got on to the story immediately.
I envy "lady astrologer" Deepa Sharma. I want to slap people on TV all the time https://t.co/HKVwBgBg2X— Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) September 13, 2015
Lady Astrologer slaps baba, baba slaps her back...bet she didn't see this coming when she went on to a TV show :P— The Dravidian Shell (@yamsivam) September 14, 2015
Here's the video.