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Issue No.: 559 | January 2014
 

Feet of Clay

Ashok Karnik
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‘Tehelka’, the harbinger of sting journalism, was regarded with respect for the lofty goals it pursued despite serious consequences. There was of course some cynicism about its motives in exposing selected politicians/institutions and remaining mute about others. There were suspicions of a quid pro quo too. The left-liberal image of Tarun Tejpal, its founder, allied with his perceived proximity to power centers created a halo around the journal. However, Tehelka’s promoters were seen to be as fallible as their victims. Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexually molesting his junior colleague. After initially apologizing to the victim, the accused turned around and suggested that there could be another version to the incident, which meant that the victim had some explaining to do. In short, he argued that the complaint could be a misrepresentation of facts. In the ensuing mess, the ‘holier than thou’ guru of investigative journalism lost his halo.

Whatever be the court verdict in this case, what stands out is the attempt to denigrate the victim. How is it different from any other victim of rape being placed in the dock by the accused? How has the high-sounding ‘Tehelka’, protector of women’s dignity, suddenly become an inquisitor and not the supporter of the victim? The case should take its legal course but in India does law always take the due course when the powerful are in the dock? Laws have indeed been strengthened to mete out more stringent punishment to molesters and the weight of evidence favours the victim but the trauma of narrating life and career ruining details of rape and molestation still requires an exceptionally brave girl to even lodge a complaint. The law can do only so much; the rest has to be done by the society.

Every issue has at least two sides. A wise person examines all sides before coming to a conclusion.
This is an attempt to present various sides of an issue so that a considered opinion can be formed.

Readers are invited to email their points of view on serious issues of the day to ashokkarnik2001@yahoo.co.in

Readers who do not have the facility of a computer can also post (mail) their points of view on serious issues of the day to "Point Counter Point”, c/o Freedom First, 3rd floor, Army & Navy Building, 148, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai, 400 001.
 
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Obituary

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