Sexual Assault Charges Against Tarun Tejpal: Reactions
Some of the reactions on Twitter to the shocking charges of sexual assault against Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal:
Indira Jaising, the Additional Solicitor General, told NDTV today that legally, Ms Chaudhury was obliged to report the complaint to the police.
Ms Chaudhury told NDTV today that she disagrees with that assessment. "It is not my place to go to the police," she said. It is the young journalist's right to decide how to proceed, she said.
Earlier, Shoma Chaudhury told NDTV, among other things: Not my place to go to police: Tehelka's Shoma Chaudhury to NDTV:
- Tarun Tejpal's letter of recusal not a letter of apology to the woman journalist
- Tarun extended an unconditional apology to her in a letter that is not in the public domain
- Don't unilaterally want to go to the police and I stand by that
- It is her prerogative to go to the police
- Aghast that a man of Arun Jaitley's stature and legal standing will say rape and not alleged rape since he has only one side of the story
- Word 'rape' came in public domain because of the people outside Tehelka
- If the girl's version turns out to be correct, I would see it as rape or attempt to rape at least
- Was so devastated with her account, that for 2-3 days my sole aim was to address her sense of extreme grievance
- Now it has entered a zone of criminality and legality, that wasn't the zone we were operating in two days ago
- Tehelka's work, other journalists, the institution not a party to the transgression
- She didn't accuse him of rape, she said sexual molestation
Arun Jaitley, via BJP:
Yesterday, I happened to glance at the Television debates on the serious charges made against Tarun Tejpal. Regretfully, some participants provided an escape route for the accused. They argued that the victim has a freedom of choice whether to pursue her complaint before the in-house inquiry or pursue the criminal investigation.
A criminal offence is a crime against a victim. It is also a crime against society. This is precisely why the 'State' pursues a criminal action. The public exchequer pays for it. There is a larger public interest in punishing a criminal. A departmental or an in-house inquiry and a criminal trial complement each other. They are not alternatives. Punishing an offender acts as an deterrent in the larger interest of the society
It is the duty of one and all to encourage victims to depose truly and faithfully. Public interest must always prevail over private embarrassments. The 'alternative option' theory is an accused-friendly approach.
Nida Najar in NYT blogs: Newsmagazine’s Handling of Sex Harassment Complaint Draws Criticism
A member of the Network of Women in Media in India, Neha Dixit, who is a freelance journalist and a contributor to India Ink, signed an open letter demanding that media houses including Tehelka set up complaints committees. She said that her own complaint of sexual harassment at Tehelka when she was a staffer in 2008 went largely ignored as well.
“With all the feminist writing that we do, I think what is becoming a problem is that it’s becoming a reverse trajectory — some girl raising a complaint of sexual harassment is tapped as uncool, regressive and not being able to deal with flirtatious behavior,” she said.
She said she did not pursue a criminal complaint because she felt she lacked the resources or the family support to do so.
Salil Tripathi in the Mint: Tehelka’s moment of hubris
The Tehelka reporter is of course right in demanding that Tehelka follow the Vishaka Guidelines. But Vishaka is about the process an organization has to put in place to deal with complaints of sexual harassment. It is an internal grievance mechanism; it cannot replace a court of law, and this case appears to go beyond what Vishaka requires, if one goes by what the letter purportedly written by the reporter reveals. If that letter is an accurate description of what happened in Goa, then it is prima facie a case requiring criminal investigation, and that cannot be avoided because an in-house committee has investigated the matter....
A Statement From Tehelka:
In furtherance to Tehelka's acceptance of Tarun Tejpal's recusal from editorship of Tehelka on November 20th, which followed the official unconditional apology he had mailed to the journalist concerned on November 19th, Tehelka has now constituted a formal complaints committee, in accordance to Vishaka guidelines, to be presided over by Urvashi Butalia, eminent feminist and publisher, to investigate the matter. The other members of the committee will be announced shortly.
In addition to this, Tehelka will ensure setting up a formal complaints committee, according to section 4 of the Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013), an institutional mechanism that was sorely missing in
Goa Police reported to have taken the following three steps:
1. They have sent an email to Soma Chaudhury, asking for three emails: i) Tarun Tejpal to Soma Chaudhury ii) Soma Chaudhury to Tehelka employees iii) The journalist concerned to Soma Chaudhury
2. They claim that once it is confirmed that this was an email sent by Tarun Tejpal, they wish to see whether this email can be treated a confession of sexual harassment. The journalist's email, given the reportedly detailed nature of it, they say, can be treated as the basis of an FIR
3. They have asked the hotel to preserve the CCTV footage from the elevators where the crime is alleged to have taken place and any other evidence they may have in their possession
And that they can take suo moto cognisance.
Shoma Chaudhury spoke to reporters after meeting the Tehelka journalists:
Please understand I want to address all questions that have been raised. Please give me a chance to do it in the correct fashion. I am not a fugitive. Tarun's not a fugitive. This institution is not a fugitive. There is a grievous incident that has happened. Please let us address it correctly. Tarun has stepped down. It is not something she had asked for. It is over and above that. If today, as I understand from your channels, and if she is still feeling aggrieved, or if she is disappointed by Tehelka's response, my primary duty is to her. I know you want much more out of it. Right now my priority is her.
I am in the process of setting up a committee. I have asked Urvashi Butalia to be a part of it. I will speak to two more people who are in my mind. By this evening, a harassment committee will definitely be set up.
It is not a case sir, unless you know more than I do [In response to a question about the criminal case]. The aggrieved party sent me a complaint. She wanted some internal action to be taken. That internal action was taken. I understand you want more out of it. To my understanding, these letters were leaked. It was an internal matter by her own desire.
Surely if you all are feeling more aggrieved than the journalist herself, I cannot answer that.
It is a difficult situation. I will address all the real questions and issues that are being raised. I need the time to prioritise it.
Getting her to feel correct is the first priority. Addressing my office is the second priority. The way these letters have leaked. I am not being able to act in a way and the measured way I would like to act.
Please give me the chance to speak to you as a journalist with all the facts. Of course I have been in contact with her. I am not mad to say things without having been in touch with her.
I do ask you to give me the dignity to speak to you guys as journalists.
Hoping a harassment committee will be set up by this evening. Spoken to Urvashi Butalia and couple of others I have in mind: Shoma Chaudhury
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