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Editor accused of rape

 | November 23, 2013

Tarun Tejpal, the 50-year-old founder and editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, Tehelka, was accused of sexually molesting a young colleague in a lift.

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It is not uncommon in India for women to be sexually molested. They get groped in trains and buses or worse still, raped.

Last December a young woman was savagely raped in a New Delhi bus and so badly beaten up with an iron road that she died, though after struggling to live for several days.

A few of months ago, a Mumbai journalist was raped in a lonely spot in Mumbai. She lived, and the culprits were arrested. However, one escaped from prison.

The India media has been going to town with these stories, playing them up on their front pages or prime time television. But when these keepers of conscience turn predators, then there is something sickeningly wrong with society.

The other day, Tarun Tejpal, the 50-year-old founder and editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, Tehelka, was accused of sexually molesting a young colleague of his in the lift of a hotel outside Panaji in Goa.

The employee, a young woman, filed a complaint with Tehelka’s management. Tejpal admitted to his misdemeanour, and stepped down. But for six months.

The Goa police has now filed a chargesheet against Tejpal, and if he had had the slightest idea of escaping jail, he would have to have second thoughts on that.

It is such a sorry state of affairs for a magazine that has conducted several sting operations and made dramatic exposes.

Tejpal wrote to his editor saying that he had erred in his judgment, misread the situation. And so he would recluse himself for six months.

The police and the girl are not happy over this. Or, this is what we are being told.

Whatever this be, the fact remains that men in positions of power have sometimes made indecent proposals or even tried forcing women to have sex with them.

Some years ago, a very senior employee of a publishing firm in Canada had to reportedly leave his job when he was charged with sexual assault. Well, he later opened his own firm, and he now lives happily ever after in India.

There was another case of a pretty senior man working in a huge company in Bangalore, being asked to step down because of his sexual misconduct.

Why do men in such positions of eminence stoop to such a low level? Probably because they imagine that they can never be caught.

As the renowned Hollywood actress, Susan Sarandon, quipped the other day — and coincidentally in Panaji — that sex and violence can be a deadly combination.

Gautaman Bhaskaran is India Editor of FMT, and Chennai-based author, columnist and movie critic. He may be emailed at[email protected]


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