The sexual harassment charge against India’s well-known investigative journalist Tarun Tejpal is snowballing, with several of his colleagues at the Tehelka magazine, which he runs, resigning in protest.
Tejpal’s petition for anticipatory bail, to forestall a possible arrest, was heard by a Delhi court on Tuesday. But the court adjourned the hearing to Wednesday without acceding to his counsel’s plea for an interim bail, even if for a day.
Tejpal is facing a blitzkrieg of criticism following the charge that he sexually assaulted a young colleague of his during the course of the Tehelka event “Thinkfest” in India’s western state of Goa earlier in the month.
At least four colleagues at Tehelka were reported as having resigned after their colleague-victim quit in protest against what she termed the insensitivity of the management to her complaint.
In another setback, a prominent publisher, Urvashi Butalia, rejected the invitation of the Tehelka’s Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury to head an internal probe to be conducted by the magazine on the grounds that since there was already a case registered by the police, an internal inquiry was not necessary.
Media organisations including the Indian Journalist Union, the National Press Club at New Delhi and The Hindu newspaper have severely condemned Tejpal for the alleged assault.
The latest to join in the criticism is Tejpal’s friend and Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy, who has termed the assault as “Rape Number Two,” to mean that this was “the rape of the values and the politics that Tehelka claims it stands for, and an affront to those who work there and who have supported it in the past. It is the hollowing out of the last vestiges of integrity, political as well as personal”.