A day after Tehelka founder and former editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal was booked for allegedly raping a junior colleague,the victim Saturday said she feared intimidation and harassment.
On the night of 22nd of November 2013,a member of Mr Tejpals immediate family came to my mothers house in New Delhi,asking my mother to protect Mr Tejpal and demanded to know 1) Who I was seeking legal help from and 2) What I wanted as the result of my complaint of sexual molestation by Mr Tejpal,that was made to the Tehelka management earlier this week, the journalist said in a statement.
She said the visit had placed tremendous emotional pressure on her family and her at an intensely traumatic time.
I fear this may be the beginning of a period of further intimidation and harassment. I call upon all persons connected to Mr Tejpal and his associates to refrain from approaching me or my family members, she added.
Her statement came even as one of her colleagues and confidants resigned from the magazine.
Sources said Tehelkas literary editor Shougat Dasgupta,one of the three people the victim confided in first after the alleged assault,had quit. Dasgupta,however,refused to either confirm or deny this when reached by The Sunday Express.
In her complaint to Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury,the victim had named Dasgupta as one of three colleagues she had told about the alleged assault in Goa. Police sources have said that all three are expected to be questioned.
Dasgupta and some other colleagues,it is learnt,had not resigned earlier as they wanted to be in the organization and pressure the management to constitute a committee according to the Vishakha guidelines as demanded by the victim.
While the organization was initially reluctant,it finally set up such a committee Thursday under feminist and publisher Urvashi Butalia. With the demand having been met,sources indicated more resignations may follow.
Another Tehelka journalist,Revati Laul,who resigned earlier this week over the incident,said she was deeply disappointed with Chaudhury and claimed she had done too little too late.
Laul said the incident had come as a bolt from the blue to her.
Pakistani columnist and author Ayesha Siddiqa has also decided to withdraw her fortnightly column in the magazine. I have decided to withdraw my column and my only reason is I dont agree with the way Tehelka has handled the issue. I had thought only judges recuse themselves but here is the case of an accused recusing himself, she said.