By Faraz Ahmad for TwoCircles.net,
Its been exactly two weeks (November 7 and 8) since a brave young journalist from Tehelka magazine, based in Mumbai, allegedly faced sexual assault for two consecutive days from her proprieter Editor-in-Chief, the much celebrated journalist Tarnun Tejpal in his Think Fest in Goa. Day before yesterday (November 23) she even announced that she was being pressurized by members of Tarun’s family to withdraw the complaint. But has she made the Police complaint?
The media is bombarding Tehelka managing editor Shoma Choudhary with the question why has she not filed a police complaint against her now recused boss, who will anyway pay her salary every month, never mind the recusing business. But what about the victim?
She is a very brave girl. She has made bold not just to elaborately describe the sexual assault on her in great detail, leaving nothing to imagination, but has circulated the e-mail containing the description among her office colleagues, which in turn has been widely publicized and is now in public domain, which is fine, for it helps the people outside to assess the level of depravity of her assaulter. She was bold enough to immediately go and report the assault to her colleagues the very first night of the assault, though she did not take any action that night, nor did they presumably because as she wrote, first she didn’t want the Robert De Niro show spoilt, and two she was also apprehensive about her own future. Understandable!
She put up with the assault the next day again and then mentioned it to her friend and the Editor’s daughter. That’s very commendable. After which she waited for seeing off De Niro since she was the chief protocol officer, granted. Her decision to postpone any action till the legendary film hero boarded his flight back home is even more courageous, considering the ordeal she faced. But that was on November 10. What after that? Why did she not go to the Goa Police right away. Maybe she was apprehensive of the consequences. But curiously she waited for full eight days to bring her ordeal to the notice of the managing editor Shoma Chaaudhary. The whole thing blew up on November 20.
Immediately we had a senior most BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley spring to action demanding police action against Tarun, reminding that the law on rape has been amended, because of which Tarun’s alleged act also amounted to rape. Since then the media has been grilling Shoma Chaudhary why she has not proceeded with the proper legal course, of reporting the matter to the Goa Police. In the meanwhile the Goa police taking suo motu notice of the alleged assault within its jurisdiction has proceeded with the necessary action. We will come to Jaitley presently.
But what about the victim? She is a perfectly educated girl, a reporter based in Mumbai, reporting similar acts as a matter of routine in her line of duty. She has a good family background with necessary understanding of crime and law. The moment some members of Tarun’s family contacted her mother ostensibly to suppress the crime, she put out one more e-mail in public domain to prevent the building up of any further pressure on her. But the moot question still remains why did she not take the proper legal course easily available to her and how long does she want to wait?
In the meantime Arun Jaitley has put the Indian media on trial over this sexual assault, rightly so. Jaitley the legal eagle has pointed out that the victim’s complaint makes out a clear case of rape. Jaitley asks, “Why was the offence not allowed to be reported forthwith?” That is the point. Was someone holding back the victim or she chose not to report the matter to the police, for reasons best known to her? Just to point out to Jaitley, Shoma Choudhary told the media that it was not for her but for the victim to lodge a police complaint. Jaitley has his own political reasons to arrive at this conclusion.
He has to link this to the Congress party simply because Tehelka has done exposes after exposes against Jaitley’s mentor and saviour Narendra Modi. Besides we were in the thick of Modi’s stalking affair when this development overtook the Snoopgate scandal.
After all only the other day Jaitley stoutly and shamelessly defended the indefensible act of Modi by calling the snooping, telephone tapping and stalking of a young woman by the Gujarat police under instructions of his factotum and the then MoS Home of Gujarat Amit Shah at the instance of “Saheb” Narendra Modi. Never mind the fact that some small time police officials and sundry private investigators are still being arrested for illegally passing on Jaitley’s call data record (CDRs) to private detectives, apparently investigating Jaitley’s wealth, about which even Jaitley is not certain whether this was an in house job, meaning his fellow BJP leaders prying into his private life.
So if the Delhi Police constables attempt to pry into Jaitley’s privacy, they deserve to be arrested kept in incarceration for long period and tried for committing a crime. But nobody dare raise a question why and how the Gujarat Chief Minister, the Home Minister and the state’s anti terror squad were stalking and snooping upon the privacy of a young woman. That, as Jaitley would have us believe, is “Protection”, for Jaitley says Modi can commit no wrong. Hear, hear, hear! A true legal wizard spake and his word is the Oracle.
Curiously the tehelka assault took place in Goa on November 7 and 8. The Cobrapost-Gulail tapes came out on November 12 and the whole issue blew up on November 20, when it appeared that Snoopgate was becoming unmanageable. True Tarun Tejpal deserves the severest punishment for his act and the law needs to act against him, but let the victim come forward and lodge a police complaint. These days she can even send an e-mail to the Director General of Goa Police. But what about Modi? Should the law remain perpetually deferential to him and what about our leading national legal practitioner and the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha? Shouldn’t he be held accountable for his outrageous defence of Narendra Modi?
Faraz Ahmad is a Freelance journalist with past association with several national dailies.