Tag Archives: Tarun Tejpal

Response to Shantanu Guha Ray’s Mumbai Mirror Article on Tarun Tejpal: Anonymous

Guest post by ANONYMOUS

[The letter below was sent to the Mumbai Mirror by the woman journalist who has accused Tarun Tejpal of rape. The paper is yet to issue a clarification on Mr Guha Ray’s connection to the rape accused Mr Tejpal, or to carry this letter on its website, or paper. As per Indian Law the identity of a victim of sexual assault is protected. We are thus carrying the letter below without disclosing her identity]

To

The Editor

Mumbai Mirror

This is to draw your attention to the article printed in your newspaper titled “Rape Charges Against Tarun Tejpal: Over Two Years On, Trial Yet to Begin” dated March 21, 2016 by Shantanu Guha Ray.

Having long admired the Mumbai Mirror, I was disappointed to note the factual inconsistencies and biases evident in the article. To begin with, Mr Guha Ray, allegedly a senior journalist (and therefore, one hopes, familiar with at least a few journalistic tenets) fails to mention in his piece that he worked under the rape accused, Tarun Tejpal, for several years at Tehelka magazine, and was also the head of Tehelka’s sister venture, Financial World – indicating that he had significant financial interest the magazine.

Further, Mr Guha Ray mentions that the complainant in the case is “working on a book on the complicated matter of sexual harassment at the workplace” to be published by Harper Collins. As the complainant, I would like to clarify that I am not working on a book about office harassment, have never been contacted by Harper Collins, and that the only thing complicated about sexual harassment at the workplace is the management bending over backwards to protect abusive employers responsible for their pay cheques.

If any further evidence of Mr Guha’s bias and professional ineptitude was necessary, let me also point out that while he liberally quotes the rape accused as saying the case is “a matter of life and death for him”, he fails to even get the state prosecutor’s name right, and has never contacted me for an account of how the delay in an allegedly “fast track” and high profile rape case has affected my health or professional prospects.

A basic fact check, or a few phone calls to lawyers and editors in New Delhi would have alerted the journalist in question, as well as you to the fact that Mr Tejpal and his family have repeatedly screened sub-judice CCTV footage for anyone that asks to view it. In fact, no one except the police and Mr Tejpal’s defence even have access to this footage, so perhaps Mr Guha Ray can next train his newshound instincts to finding out how story after story defending Mr Tejpal based on this footage appeared in publications like Outlook, The Citizen and the Facebook page of Mr Anurag Kashyap.

Finally, Mr Guha would do well to remember that not only does this delay in proceedings give “some reprieve” to Mr Tejpal, but combined with his slanderous media campaign, it also affects every single witness in the case, and constantly delays the moment I can present my truth and evidence in court — a moment I have patiently waited for for over two years.

Warm regards,

XYZ

If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em: Ayesha Kidwai

AYESHA KIDWAI on FeministsIndia

Ayesha Kidwai on the need for Left-Secular people to take sexual harassment seriously when it comes home to “us”.

The burning question is why Mustafa and Joseph have done this? Are they misogynistic ‘supporters’ of Tejpal or fearless worshippers of fact and intrepid journalism? While the latter question may be good for an author’s self-image, and the former one can be dismissed as presupposing too tidy a critique, the real issue is a general failure amongst the professionals to come up with an adequate response to what the changed mood in the middle class demands. Mustafa and Joseph’s failures are just repeats of ones that we have witnessed over and over again, and each profession has plunged into a crisis when a colleague has been accused: How does a ‘senior’ professional approach the fact that some young woman has gone and complained about something that wasn’t even a grievance just a few years ago? After all, it is ”her’ word against ‘his’ and we know him; and while he may have his faults, he has done so many good things, and he is above all, secular. In any case, why are these outsiders, this “bunch of feminists” getting so involved in these matters (which are always so stippled with grey when seen from our side)?

For an outsider feminist like me, the answer is obvious: no one but this bunch knows what to do when a complaint is made from within one’s own kind. When the complaints have been made from within academia or within the judiciary, it is this bunch that has fought for them to be addressed, protested and thwarted the misuse of hierarchical power and its machinery of slander and intimidation, and reminded their professions that the ideal of equality must first be expressed in the creation of conditions conducive to its access. In doing so, they have imbued the phrase “let the law  take its own course” with substantive meaning.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Tabloid Law – Framing Sexual Violence: Pratiksha Baxi

Guest Post by PRATIKSHA BAXI

When an ongoing rape trial becomes a controversial ‘story’, much rests on journalistic practice: how the story is plotted, the metaphors used, and the visuals that accompany the text. Writing about sexual violence is challenging if one wants to resist voyeurism, yet sell a ‘story’. It means resisting reproducing ‘tabloid’ pictures of law.

Given that there is very little literacy about the newly amended rape law, it is not apparent to many why forms of sexual violence, other than forcible penile penetration of the vagina, should be called rape. Nor is it acceptable to many people that a man be sentenced for ten years (or more) for rape when it is not accompanied by annihilating physical violence.

Is it then incumbent on journalists to indicate that the 2013 amendments to the rape law create new meanings of rape, some which are not accepted as rape in society? Indeed, what role do journalists have in interrogating the social and collective toleration of sexual violence?  Continue reading Tabloid Law – Framing Sexual Violence: Pratiksha Baxi

What do Tejpal supporters choose to see? Team FeministsIndia

[FROM THE BLOG FEMINISTSINDIA]

Tarun Tejpal, who was the editor of Tehelka magazine, is alleged to have sexually assaulted his junior journalist in a lift in a Goa Hotel. The past few days have seen subtle and direct statements that seek support for Tejpal based on the CCTV footage of the survivor and Tejpal outside the lift. While senior journalists Manu Joseph and Seema Mustafa wrote articles dissecting the incident in favour of the accused, well known film maker Anurag Kashyap accused the survivor of not telling the truth – they all were basing their opinions on the CCTV footage they saw. The campaign coincides with a bail application made to the Supreme Court.

Feminists Vrinda Grover and Kavita Krishnan analyse flaws in the arguments made in support of Tarun Tejpal in media and social networks by those who have illegally watched sub judicial CCTV footage.

Read the rest here.

Letter to Press Council re Tehelka case from Network of Women in Media

Dear Justice Katju,

The Network of Women in Media, India is deeply concerned about what appears to be a renewed media campaign that threatens the course of justice in the sexual assault and rape case involving the former editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal.

In this connection we would like to call the attention of the PCI to two recent articles on the subject in two publications, The Citizen and Outlook. The article in the former, headlined “Alleged victim’s testimony in the Tarun Tejpal case at variance with CCTV footage” which originally appeared under the byline of senior journalist Seema Mustafa, was later credited, on 31 March evening, to ‘Citizen Bureau’. [This piece has by now been removed altogether]. The article in the latter, headlined “What the elevator saw” is by senior journalist Manu Joseph.

While ostensibly seeking to set the record straight, both articles are clearly biased in favour of the accused and seem to be a deliberate attempt to adversely influence public opinion against the complainant. Indeed, these articles appear to follow the familiar Standard Operating Procedure to silence women in cases of sexual violence, and bolster the impunity of perpetrators. Continue reading Letter to Press Council re Tehelka case from Network of Women in Media

A hunt, the aftermath, angry Indian men and a tragedy: Rahul Roy

Guest Post by RAHUL ROY

Nivedita Menon ends her commentary on the unfolding Tehelka sexual assault case in Kafila by asserting – “the time has come. It is now”. It should be, but is it? Are we witnessing the end game of an old Indian patriarchal sport called sexual assault? The sport is akin to another old game called the royal hunt that was an important part of elite political culture of South Asia. The rules of the sport were then as now heavily loaded in favour of the royal huntsman – weapons, support teams, timing, everything required for the thrill of a kill were with powerful men out to conquer. The expeditions however were not just about the kill. The sport was also a means of asserting authority over tracts of the wild and those that lived there and were by some misfortune not aware of prevailing authority structures. The royal hunt was an event to showcase to subjects the might, prowess and authority of the elite rulers. It was the stamping of power over human as well as animal kingdom. The royal huntsman could not but win. He could not but kill.
Continue reading A hunt, the aftermath, angry Indian men and a tragedy: Rahul Roy

Presenting the Perpetrator as Victim

Meet Tarun Tejpal’s spin doctors

image

Unlike Justice (Retd.) Ashok Kumar Ganguly, Tarun Tejpal’s defenders cannot cry innocence given that Tejpal has confessed to his crime, albeit disputing the degree of it. He has even confessed having told his colleague that suffering the sexual assault was the “easiest way of keeping your job”. Even his two decades old comrade Shoma Choudhury is unable to defend him beyond saying that he has his versions. Nobody buys Tejpal’s ludicrous retractions.

This put Tejpal’s friends, fellow molesters and self-defeating secularists in a bind. Many of his friends have chosen silence, which is understandable. It is only human to recuse oneself from the difficult choice between principle and friendship. Though some like Arundhati Roy and Sankarshan Thakur have admirably chosen principle over personal association. But those who wanted to come out and actually defend Tejpal were at a loss for words. How do they defend a crime whose perpetrator has confessed to it? So they came up with a few sly defences which pretend to be nuances. Some like BG Verghese are writing as though they were ghostwriting Shoma Choudhury’s defence.

So let us lacerate these defences one by one.

‘Trial by media, lynch mob’

Continue reading Presenting the Perpetrator as Victim

PUCL Statement on Tehelka Sexual Assault Case

[We are publishing below the full text of the statement issued by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, on the Tehelka case, which raises some important issues that have not received public attention yet.]
 
Press Statement on the Tehelka Sexual Assault Case
 Dated: 2 December 2013
The PUCL
  • Expresses Solidarity with the struggle of the Tehelka Journalist who raised her voice against Rape and Intimidation by the Ex-Editor Tarun Tejpal.
  • Demands fair investigation and early charge sheet into the matter, from the Goa Police.
  • Considers Six Day of Custodial interrogation of Tarun Tejpal granted by the Goa Judicial Magistrate Court unnecessary and invidious.
  • Appeals that police custody and the case not become a tool in the hands of BJP administered Goa police to settle scores with Tejpal.
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties from the very beginning has supported the complaint of the woman journalist of Tehelka magazine who accused the editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, of rape and sexual assault. PUCL salutes her courage for breaking the silence on rape and sexual intimidation carried out by her senior colleague and editor. We have also admired the consistent and principled manner in which the young girl stated her case, initially via internal emails within Tehelka, and later on to the media, neither allowing vituperation or anger at the blatant violation of her body to sensationalise her case or to prevaricate about the fact of the offence having been committed. Through her dignified stand she stands as a model to all women who suffer similar sexual violence, that the dignity of a woman’s body cannot be a plaything for anybody howsoever influential and powerful they be. By the same token, we also denounce the vilification campaign carried out by Tarun Tejpal and his lawyers against the complainant by seeking to impute that the entire crime was actually a `consensual’ act or at trying to trivialise the crime by calling it “light hearted banter”.

Continue reading PUCL Statement on Tehelka Sexual Assault Case

The Misogyny of India’s Cultural Elite: Kavita Bhanot

Guest post by KAVITA BHANOT

Thanks to the brave actions of a woman who had the courage to speak out against her very powerful boss, something huge has happened in the last week in India. The very sophisticated, cosmopolitan English-speaking cultural elite of India has been forced, for once, to look at itself, to face up to the sexism and misogyny that it has long harboured.

For many years this elite has been protesting, exposing, judging, mocking the patriarchy of the lower classes – of the policeman, the religious fundamentalist, the ‘unpolished’ politician, the working class urban migrant, the eve-teaser on the street.  But rarely have the men, or the women of this class, looked, in public, at themselves – the men examining their attitude towards women and the women thinking about their own complicity, the ways in which they have allowed or turned a blind eye to the misogyny of the men of their own class.

Neither the incident, nor Shoma Chaudhury’s response to it, surprises me in the least. In the time that I spent in this world, it became quickly apparent to me that deeply entrenched in the suave, cosmopolitan world of English language media, literature, art – were problematic attitudes towards women that neither the men or the women seemed to question.

Continue reading The Misogyny of India’s Cultural Elite: Kavita Bhanot

Not an open letter to Tarun Tejpal: Hartman de Souza

Guest post by HARTMAN DE SOUZA

When I hit out at him, Tejpal stood there with a swagger and a go-fuck-yourself smile on his face. Butter doesn’t melt easily in this guy’s mouth; he was smug when he said he hadn’t run Raman Kirpal’s story on the mining scam in Goa (that he himself had commissioned mind you) because it was not good enough for Tehelka.

 “There were no hard facts, man,” he said, his voice exiting his quasi-American accent in a nasal peeve, “just a lot of conjecture”.

He actually asked me whether I had read his magazine. Probably never even saw the eulogy I wrote for Tehelka, on that magnificent footballer from Kerala, VP Sathyan, who threw himself in front of a train at the age of 41 just plain bloody tired of being broke and ignored.

On July 18, 2006, when Sathyan, stupidly, stopped believing in the beauty of football, Tejpal’s star was in its ascendancy. That was the day – nearly a year and a half after Tehelka shed blood, sweat and tears, that the CBI also charge-sheeted former BJP President Bangaru Lakshman for ‘allegedly’ pocketing money from a fictitious armament firm and influencing a weapon deal.

That’s the ‘scoop’ that put Tejpal on the ladder – and just so that we all know what is what, people still don’t give a shit about VP Sathyan who in 1992 captained what is arguably Kerala’s  best ever football team.

Continue reading Not an open letter to Tarun Tejpal: Hartman de Souza

Former Tehelka journalist speaks out

This is the full text of the statement issued today to the media by the gutsy woman journalist who refused to take sexual harassment as routine. More power to her and others like her!

I am heartened by the broad support I have received over the past fortnight. However, I am deeply concerned and very disturbed by insinuations that my complaint is part of a pre-election political conspiracy.

I categorically refute such insinuations and put forward the following arguments:

The struggle for women to assert control over their lives and their bodies is most certainly a political one, but feminist politics and its concerns are wider than the narrow universe of our political parties. Thus, I call upon our political parties to resist the temptation to turn a very important discussion about gender, power and violence into a conversation about themselves.

Continue reading Former Tehelka journalist speaks out

The Tangled “Tonalities” of Mr. Tejpal

By now the details are well known: a young journalist describes a harrowing encounter with Tarun Tejpal, owner and editor of Tehelka, in an elevator during Tehelka’s Think fest in Goa. The description of the incident alleges gross sexual misconduct and bodily violation of an aggravated nature.  Her description does not make for easy reading: it clearly demonstrates the incredibly vulnerable position in which young women are placed when confronted with the sexual misdemeanors of powerful men in positions of managerial authority. Indeed Mr. Tejpal says as much, that to cooperate with him is the best way for her to keep her job. She writes to Ms. Shoma Chaudhury the managing editor describing the incident and asks that she be tendered an official apology, and that Tehelka’s senior management constitute an enquiry and anti-sexual harassment committee as per the Vishaka guidelines. Instead what she is offered is a pathos-laden tale of fall and redemption: directed by and starring Mr. Tejpal, producer Ms. Shoma Chaudhury. There has been near continuous discussion across the web and the news and it can get difficult to keep track of all the various versions being produced on an hourly basis by Tehelka’s bullshit factories. So at this stage it might be useful to simply collate and compare various accounts. Continue reading The Tangled “Tonalities” of Mr. Tejpal

Protect the Privacy of the Tehelka Journalist: Report Responsibly

GUEST POST BY ‘REPORT RESPONSIBLY’
To all editors, journalists, bloggers, users of social media, and the public:

Some websites and blogs are posting the Tehelka journalist’s complaint to the magazine’s management or reproducing parts of it, perhaps with intent to expose a grave act of sexual assault by a man occupying a powerful position. However, in doing so, they are violating basic ethical and legal injunctions on the way cases of sexual assault must be reported.

The journalist’s complaint to her company is a private document and not a public one. While private documents can be leaked in the ‘public interest’, this principle is applicable to the emails of Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury sent to Tehelka staffers, not to the journalist’s emailed complaint. In cases of sexual assault, it is a well established principle that the media can name the perpetrator, but not the victim. The identity and privacy of a victim must be protected at all costs.We are distressed that many people are circulating the journalist’s emails, and other journalists, bloggers and users of social media are publishing it in parts or whole.

Continue reading Protect the Privacy of the Tehelka Journalist: Report Responsibly

Sexualized workplaces, predatory men and the rage of women

Listen. Can you hear it? That low growl on the horizon, coming closer, growing louder? It’s the dam bursting its bounds. It’s the quiet shriek of convivial silence being ripped apart.

The silence around the normalizing of a range of behaviour from the apparently casual to the outrightly violent. The laughing sexual innuendo; the misogynist jokes; the well-known ‘displaced squeeze’ of the upper arm, the shoulders; the repeated, relentless expression of romantic or sexual interest despite clear NO’s; the grabbing of the breast, the unwanted kiss, the out-of-town work trip ending in physical assault, presented as flattering interest; and through it all, the clear invocation of the power relationship.

You look great, Sir, retirement suits you, says a younger female colleague to a Professor visiting his former institution. Really, he smirks. Two other people told me this, and they are both women. What do you think it means? She smiles uncomfortably and hurries out of the office of the male head of the institution in whose presence this comment is made.

Continue reading Sexualized workplaces, predatory men and the rage of women