The Tehelka sexual harassment case is getting murkier and murkier and the management seems to be coming out with one goof-up after another.
A look at their seven sins…
1. Neglect: Tehelka failed to follow the Vishaka Guidelines and set up a committee to counter sexual harassment. Both Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury are guilty of this. Shouldn’t some action be taken against them on the basis of that?
To make matters worse, Shoma said that such a committee was not necessary even after the scandal was initially thrown wide open and discussed extensively in the media. She is only doing so under immense pressure.
2. Lust: Most Delhi editors are guilty of this. Ask anyone who has worked in that industry. The more editors sleep around, the more they want to keep doing it.
Tejpal has everything. Money. Fame. Position. Respect in the society. Despite that it hasn’t made any different and some in Twitterverse even claim that he is a repeat offender.
3. Subterfuge: It is amazing the kind of words that both Tejpal and Shoma have been using. “Bad lapse of judgment.” “Awful misreading of the situation.” “…we believe in and fight for…”
All this sounds more like a US President regretting a war he shouldn’t have started. Imagine using “unfortunate incident” and “untoward incident” for a rape attempt! Shoma also tried to tell the world that the victim was satisfied when she clearly wasn’t.
Shoma tried to tell the world that the employees of Tehelka were also satisfied. If so, then why did they go ahead and leak the emails?
The last straw is a term that Tejpal used recently: Forced sexual liaison. A rape by any other name is still a rape.
4. Pride: The second part of the letters are that the backslapping and congratulatory phrases that Tejpal and Shoma are using against each other.
“Tehelka has been born and built, day on day, with my blood, toil, tears and sweat...”
“Always on the side of the oppressed and the wronged, always on the side of equity and justice…”
“You have always been stellar, Shoma…”
To which Shoma replies…
“Tehelka is an institution he (Tejpal) has built.”
Anyone intercepting these mails without context would assume that Tehelka had just won the Pulitzer Prize!
5. Hypocrisy: Tehelka has been a long crusader for women’s rights and have done a lot of rape stories. THiNK 2013 in Goa also featured a rape survivor and Shoma spoke eloquently about how rape was 95% by someone known to the victim and how tough it is for the victim to fight.
And here we have the case of the Top 2 of Tehelka: One has been accused of rape while the other has been busy trying to cover it up.
In the aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape agitation, you can’t get a bigger case of hypocrisy than this.
6. Abandonment: Twitter can take you to stratospheric heights and Twitter can destroy you. All of Shoma’s Tweets are coming back to haunt her and they are being quoted and ReTweeted extensively by one and all.
Specially this one…
Madeline Albright: there's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women
Now here is a case of a woman who thinks that if there is an attempted rape on another woman, then a six-month vacation is punishment! Shoma didn’t set up the committee on her own, she didn’t go to the police on her own and she had the gall to say that the victim was satisfied when she was clearly not!
7. Bias: While the media has rightly taken Tehelka to the cleaners, it is amazing that they are trying to present Tejpal as a great wordsmith and crusader and Tehelka being a paragon of virtue which has been plagued with this unfortunate incident just now itself.
There was no scam in the NDA government, but it was created by Tehelka and that too by using prostitutes to trap Army officers. In many countries Tejpal would have been serving a prison term right now.
The best example is how from 2010-13, the Congress government has been plagued by one scam after another and yet Tehelka has been consistently going after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with such zeal that is shocking.
It’s not that Tehelka is sinning now. It has been sinning from the day it was born.