News / Asia

Top Indian Journalist Embroiled in Sex Scandal, Sparks Debate

FILE - Tarun Tejpal, editor in chief Tehelka.com, talks to the media, Mar. 13, 2001.
FILE - Tarun Tejpal, editor in chief Tehelka.com, talks to the media, Mar. 13, 2001.
Reuters
The editor-in-chief of one of India's leading investigative magazines faced flak from activists and politicians on Friday following allegations of sexually assaulting a female colleague.
 
Tarun Tejpal, founder of the award-winning weekly magazine, Tehelka - known for exposing corruption and human rights issues - confessed in a leaked email that “a bad lapse of judgment” and “an awful reading of the situation” had led to an “unfortunate incident.”
 
According to reports, the victim said she was assaulted twice by Tejpal over a period of two days in a hotel elevator during a conference in the coastal state of Goa earlier this month.
 
The Tehelka case has sparked widespread debate within the Indian media and on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter about the silence that surrounds sexual harassment and assault in the country's workplaces.
 
Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar, a member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), said that Tehelka's response to the case has been disappointing and that the setting up of an internal probe committee under pressure is too little, too late.
 
“Shoma Chaudhury has said that an investigative committee would be set up, but I think this is too late. This should have been done earlier when the complainant demanded it. The magazine's response to the case earlier was disappointing. The women's commission has directed the Goa police to take up the matter because there is a confession from the accused,” said Prabhavalkar.
 
The alleged victim has not made an official complaint to the police, but local authorities in Goa said they had ordered an inquiry and were trying to contact her for a statement.
 
Tejpal is a veteran journalist and novelist with a career spanning over 25 years. In 2001, Asiaweek listed him as one of Asia's 50 most powerful communicators, while in 2007, The Guardian named him among the 20 who constitute India's new elite. In 2009, BusinessWeek said he was one of 50 most powerful Indians.
 
Meanwhile, the leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nalin Kohli, questioned Tejpal's arrangement of stepping down from his editorship for six months as penance.
 
“Arun Jaitley has written a very telling piece on the entire issue. He is correct in asking the question that can an adjustment or an arrangement between the editor and the managing editor rub out the criminality of the act here. This amounts to rape or definitely assault. Can the provisions of the Indian penal code not apply?” asked Kohli.
 
Despite India's economic liberalization, which began more than two decades ago and brought with it more progressive ideas of gender equality and empowerment, women continue to face a barrage of threats due to deeply-entrenched patriarchal attitudes, women's rights activists say.
 
Working women are routinely exposed to sexual harassment by colleagues, managers or their employers, yet few report such cases fearing the loss of their jobs or, in some cases, persecution for speaking out against those more powerful.
 
The government passed a law in March aimed at tackling unwelcome behavior such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and innuendos made at work.
 
However, activists say few organizations have set up the grievance committees stipulated by the law. These committees, it is hoped, would provide a safe and sensitive place for women to come forward to report cases and hold perpetrators accountable.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid