After a huge outrage over social network, Senior Journalist Tarun Tejpal has been dropped from a panel at the TOI Litfest, to be orgainsed by the Times of India in December. Tejpal was to appear here as a speaker on a panel titled “The Tyranny of Power”. The pronouncement to drop Tejpal was taken after a massive outrage against him on social media. He was an accused of raping his colleague in lift at Goa Hotel. Tejpal was accused of sexually assaulting a woman colleague in a five-star hotel in Goa on two occasions on November 7 and 8 last year during an event organised by his own magazine. The woman journalist had claimed that Tejpal had raped her in the elevator during ThinkFest, an annual conference organised by Tehelka.
Tarun Tejpal, the founder-editor of Tehelka magazine, was granted regular bail few months ago, almost eight months after he was arrested on charges of raping and sexually harassing a woman colleague. The senior journalist, who had spent six months in jail, has been on interim bail since then, when he was allowed to attend his mother’s funeral and perform the last rites. Tejpal was arrested on November 30, 2013. He was lodged at the Sada sub-jail in Goa’s Vasco town. A once powerful media guy tries to smear politicians of all parties, switches his loyalty. Fundamental questions relating to law, ethics and journalistic propriety have been raised in various publications in recent time. The rape case involving Tarun Tejpal, has led to umbrage on the part of several women journalists, lawyers and human rights activists, with some writing to media watchdogs in the country seeking redress for what they believe is an orchestrated campaign in defense of Tejpal. The rape case is one of the most discussed matters of its kind in recent memory. When Tejpal’s case was weakening in the hearings, the articles based on the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, which was specifically requested for by the defence, has suddenly thrown the spotlight back on the case.
Tarun Tejpal has always acted as a ‘Media Guard’ for Congress. He behaved like a sharp shooter for Congress and attacked all those who attacked on Congress Party through his team’s investigation skills. Now, it is time when he has to run from pillar to post to save his own skin. Tehelka was never fair with anybody except Congress Party. It is the easiest thing to be on the side of entrenched powers and against those who seeks to challenge them. I think opposition party got readymade target to settle their scores against this Congress stooge. Tejpal got shocks in his ribs when, he was summoned by Goa police for interrogations. He has told the Goa Police that he will not comply with deadline for his interrogation. His request for anticipatory or pre-trial bail was denied by Delhi High Court, the court has refused to ban his arrest till it shares its verdict.
Tarun Tejpal is like many corporate honchos and others in high places who flaunt their position and power to explore and exploit. Till that time when women go into hiding to protect their identity and hesitate to openly challenge their perverted colleagues, men will continue to assume that women are indeed weak and, for them, the shame of being exposed is greater than the shame of being molested. The Tehelka employee deserves praise for showing the way. When a woman who is sexually harassed complains boldly, belying the perpetrator’s belief that she will never do so, he tries the next trick of making society believe that the ‘encounter’ was ‘consensual.’ Tejpal seems to be trapped in the same web which he used to weave for others. A year after he was accused of rape, Tarun Tejpal was returning to the elite literary circuit but shunted out on people’s demand. No one approved his presence at Times of India Litfest. Organisers were forced to drop him. News broke first on Twitter and then later across the media. The Times of India Literary Carnival, set to be held in Mumbai in the first week of December, includes as part of its schedule a panel featuring the rape-accused journalist and author. There’s no indication that the discussion at the Times of India’s Litfest, on December 6, will be about Tejpal’s alleged abuse of power himself, especially since that matter is subjudice. Along Tejpal, on the panel are journalist and scriptwriter Basharat Peer, Congress politician Mani Shankar Aiyar and the moderator is journalist Manu Joseph, who is believed to be the strong supporter of Tarun. Anyway, finally the accused is haunted by media till he gets dropped.