Kavita Krishnan’s post on Facebook on 28th March, 2016
Letter by the woman journalist who has accused Tarun Tejpal of rape, to the Editor, Mumbai Mirror regarding an article by Shantanu Guha Ray that is rife with factual inaccuracies and violations of journalistic ethics. (This kind of thing seems to be a global phenomenon – Pachauri gets a piece carried in the Guardian, suggesting the complainant was ‘flirting’ and also a conspirator on behalf of climate change sceptics; Tejpal gets a piece carried in the Mumbai Mirror that talks of the impact of a delayed trial on the accused – but does not bother to ask WHY the trial is delayed, and how such delay affects the complainant and witnesses!
After all, the delay is due to the fact that Tejpal himself has sought and obtained a stay from the Supreme Court on grounds that he has not been provided cloned copies of the CCTV footage, accuser’s mobile phone, laptop etc (he got the stay in spite of the fact that the technology for such cloning is unavailable in India – would your average accused man, were he not a man with immense pull like Tejpal, be able to get such a stay on such grounds?). Tejpal is going around showing the CCTV footage to whoever he can, asking them to see how the complainant does not ‘look like a raped woman.’ The footage, needless to say, is not from inside the lift where the assault took place but from outside the lift, and as many of us are tired of repeating, raped women do not rush around yelling ‘Bachao/Help,’ especially if the rapist is someone they have known and trusted; they try to look normal and avoid attracting attention.
I have copied the letter, as carried by Kafila, below.
This is to draw your attention to the article printed in your newspaper titled “Rape Charges Against Tarun Tejpal: Over Two Years On, Trial Yet to Begin” dated March 21, 2016 by Shantanu Guha Ray.
Having long admired the Mumbai Mirror, I was disappointed to note the factual inconsistencies and biases evident in the article. To begin with, Mr Guha Ray, allegedly a senior journalist (and therefore, one hopes, familiar with at least a few journalistic tenets) fails to mention in his piece that he worked under the rape accused, Tarun Tejpal, for several years at Tehelka magazine, and was also the head of Tehelka’s sister venture, Financial World – indicating that he had significant financial interest the magazine.
Further, Mr Guha Ray mentions that the complainant in the case is “working on a book on the complicated matter of sexual harassment at the workplace” to be published by Harper Collins. As the complainant, I would like to clarify that I am not working on a book about office harassment, have never been contacted by Harper Collins, and that the only thing complicated about sexual harassment at the workplace is the management bending over backwards to protect abusive employers responsible for their pay cheques.
If any further evidence of Mr Guha’s bias and professional ineptitude was necessary, let me also point out that while he liberally quotes the rape accused as saying the case is “a matter of life and death for him”, he fails to even get the state prosecutor’s name right, and has never contacted me for an account of how the delay in an allegedly “fast track” and high profile rape case has affected my health or professional prospects.
A basic fact check, or a few phone calls to lawyers and editors in New Delhi would have alerted the journalist in question, as well as you to the fact that Mr Tejpal and his family have repeatedly screened sub-judice CCTV footage for anyone that asks to view it. In fact, no one except the police and Mr Tejpal’s defence even have access to this footage, so perhaps Mr Guha Ray can next train his newshound instincts to finding out how story after story defending Mr Tejpal based on this footage appeared in publications like Outlook, The Citizen and the Facebook page of Mr Anurag Kashyap.
Finally, Mr Guha would do well to remember that not only does this delay in proceedings give “some reprieve” to Mr Tejpal, but combined with his slanderous media campaign, it also affects every single witness in the case, and constantly delays the moment I can present my truth and evidence in court — a moment I have patiently waited for for over two years.
Letter Courtesy: Kafila