In her resignation letter mailed to Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhary on Monday, the woman journalist who accused the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal of sexually assaulting her, has noted: “In the public acknowledgement sent to the bureau, Mr. Tejpal and you [Shoma Chaudhary] referred to his act of sexual violation as “an untoward incident” — this was not an attempt to “protect the institution” but in fact, an attempt to cover up what had really occurred…’’
“Further, in conversations with my colleagues, you admitted to them that you did not see the need to set up an anti-sexual harassment cell as per the Vishakha guidelines, because you did not contest my version of what had occurred on the nights of 7th and 8th of November.”
Noting that in Ms. Chaudhry’s appearances on national news channels, “you first attempted to establish that I was ‘satisfied’ with Tehelka’s actions, when only one of my immediate demands from the organization had been met — namely, that Mr. Tejpal had unconditionally apologised for sexually molesting me in private emails to you and I.”
“His public acknowledgement of the apology did not include any reference to his grievous sexual misconduct, and you had still failed to set up an anti-sexual harassment cell as per Vishakha guidelines. This could, in no way, have left me ‘satisfied’.”
She goes on to write: “I had responded to both of Mr. Tejpal’s emails (cc'd to you and the three colleagues I had confided everything to since the 7th of November) clarifying: A) that his behaviour could not be described as ‘sexual liaison’, and that was in fact an act of sexual molestation and a violation of bodily integrity and trust, since it occurred (by his own admission) despite my refusal. B) A sexual act carried out without consent cannot be justified on any basis.
C) That after Mr. Tejpal (by his own admission) had referred to his position of power over me in the organization, he did not withdraw this statement as his emails allege.
“You continued to ignore my rebuttals to these emails, while insisting, in public, that I was satisfied,” the woman noted in her email.
Stating that Mr. Chaudhry was now attempting to establish that Mr. Tejpal has “another version” of events, she notes: “At a time when I find myself victim to such a crime, I am shattered to find the Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka, and you – in your capacity as Managing Editor – resorting to… tactics of intimidation, character assassination and slander.’’
“Given the sequence of events since the 7th of November, it is not just Mr. Tejpal who has failed me as an employer — but Tehelka that has failed women, employees, journalists and feminists collectively. Please consider my resignation effective immediately,” she concludes.