Tag Archives: Tehelka

Let’s be fair to Tarun Tejpal. Let us listen to his side of the story

A number of people are saying that Tarun Tejpal has been held guilty and convicted by a media trial. They are saying that the media and public have both chosen to not hear “the other side of the story”.

That claim, put simply, is incorrect. From day one of the story, “the other side” was heard. We read Tejpal’s emails and those of his lieutenant Shoma Choudhary. We heard Choudhury speak and defend herself endlessly on TV. On news channels, in print and on the web, we’ve heard a long list of luminaries defend Tejpal: Sanjoy Roy, Alyque Padamsee, Namita Devidayal, Dilip Tahil, Rahul Singh, Prem Shankar Jha, Roger Cohen, Anusha Rizvi, Manisha Sethi, Palash Krishna Mehrotra, Charu Nivedita, BG Verghese, Bina Ramani, Nirupama Sekhri, Madhu Trehan, Rahul Da Cunha and then some. Latest additions to the list are Seema Mustafa, Manu Joseph and Anurag Kashyap.

All of these people tell us the other side of the story, which is incoherent and constantly changing. Let’s be fair to them. Let’s listen to what Tarun Tejpal has to say. Continue reading Let’s be fair to Tarun Tejpal. Let us listen to his side of the story

Correcting Inconsistencies – A response to Anusha Rizvi and Manisha Sethi: Rebecca John

Guest Post by REBECCA JOHN

(Rebecca John is a Senior Advocate at the Delhi High Court)

This is in response  to some popular misconceptions about the 2013 amendments relating to sexual offences against women and some of the issues raised by Manisha Sethi and Anusha Rizvi  in HardNews, (Confronting Certainties, posted on the Hardnews website on March 9, 2014)

1) Suo moto action by the police leading to the registration of an FIR:
There is no requirement in law that an FIR  must be registered only on the complaint of a victim. If a police force  receives information  about the commission of a  cognisable offence , it can register an FIR on it’s own. This is not the first time this has happened, almost all CBI cases are registered on ” source information ” and not on actual complaints made by aggrieved persons.
 
2) Bail in non-bailable offences of a serious kind is not usually granted:
Let us not trivialize the offence of rape and treat the dismissal of a bail plea as the worst kind of crime. Pretrial detentions are the rule in India – so if we want that practice changed, and I certainly do, let’s start with all under-trials and lets not  just shed tears  for the rich and powerful and pretend that this is an unusual occurrence. Please come to courts and see how the system works .
 

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

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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

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

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