New Delhi/Panjim, Nov 21 IBNS | 9 months ago

The sexual harassment of a young journalist by one of India's top investigative journalists and Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, continued to rattle the media and political world with the Goa police now seeking CCTV footage of the hotel where the incident had taken place even as the Opposition BJP in India said it is a wake up call for all and there should be no double standard to protect the senior mediaperson.


Reports said the Goa administration has ordered a probe into the incident and cops have sought the CCTV footage of the day when the incident occurred at the Tehelka Think festival.

Though Tejpal stepped down for six months for what he called is an "atonement" and the magazine claimed that the woman concerned is satisfied, the news trickling out tells a different story.

The journalist said she was "deeply disappointed by Tehelka's response." The woman told NDTV: "To claim that other journalists in Tehelka are satisfied is also false since my testimony has not been publicly circulated within Tehelka, only Tarun's letter of 'atonement' has."

She demanded setting up of an anti-sexual harassment cell in Tehelka to probe, said reports. The girl was allegedly twice molested in an elevator, said media reports.

Tehelka magazine managing editor Shoma Choudhary told media earlier that "this is an internal matter and the journalist concerned is satisfied with the action taken."

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meanwhile said the incident shows double standard by authorities in dealing with such cases as they compared it with the Gujarat snooping case where their leader Amit Shah and PM candidate Narendra Modi were targetted for protecting a woman at the request of her father.

"It is a wake up call for us," said BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi as she hinted that Congress and its surrogates have maintained certain silence on the issue.

"This case should be taken to logical conclusion," she said.

Super cop and social activist Krian Bedi said police should take suo moto action since an act of crime has been committed.

"Does Tehelka have the mandatory committee to look into the allegations of sexual harassment against their editor to propose on how far to go?" tweeted Bedi.

"Woke up to the shocking news of Tarun Tejpal!! A person in his position has to live by the ethical standard he demands of others! Sad...," filmmaker and actor Farhan Akhtar posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Activist Kavita Krishnan said the incident is shocking and the demand of the woman for a probe within Tehelka should be heeded.

Top journalist of The Hindu group N Ram said the action is not just harassment but it appeared like an attempted rape.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday said it is likely to take suo motu cognisance of the Tehelka sexual assault case.

"We want the victim to file a complaint with us. We will not reveal her identity. We would like to know what exactly happened in her own words," said NCW member Nirmala Samant.

Tejpal on Wednesday stepped down as the Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka for six months over allegations of sexual harassment of the journalist.

In an e-mail sent to the weekly magazine's Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury, Tejpal said: "The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this. A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for. I have already unconditionally apologised for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further."

"I feel atonement cannot be just words. I must do the penance that lacerates me. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months," he said.

According to reports, Soma Chaudhury will take charge of the magazine during this period.

(Posted on 21-11-2013)