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3

Rape apologist is a term I have become very familiar with it. Every time there is an outrage on social media with accusations of rape or harassment made against a man, my refusal to join in or my questioning of the e-lynchings is interpreted as supporting crimes against women. Thankfully, I'm not particularly dependent on public approval for my well being, so no harm done. Yet. But this bothers me on another level. There seems something fundamentally wrong in how we see gender conflicts.

What is more important? A gender functional society or proving men wrong?

This is important to identify because the goal will determine the means we use. To prove men wrong (which appears to be the popular preference), not much is needed. You simply condemn them. Over and over. Attack them if they defend themselves, attack anyone who interferes in the process. Rinse, repeat. We have been doing this for a while. So where is the change? Where is the progress toward the goal? It is already established that men are the greater perpetrators of crimes against women than vice versa. What new thing do we prove?

My preference is a gender functional society. I am content to leave the process of fixing blame on the courts and focus my attention on how the problems can be prevented. I see no reason to judge an accused with the information available to me unless there is evidence that the legal process is being subverted. Then social effort is the inferior fallback. That too should eventually lead to the courts. I prefer to see women as individuals of varying capacity - as the feminists insist we should - see them as people. So I have no idea why we infantalize them and lower the bar of their autonomy so low that they basically trip into justice?

Not all women are powerless, truthful or fair

This particularly goes for upper middle class women in situations that are short of physical violence. Women of this class are increasingly actualized and assertive. They are most certainly capable of being the powerful person in the relationship (and thus having the power to abuse). They are certainly capable of lying, just as men are. They are capable of emotional manipulation (actually women who do this tend to be better than men at it, because men have considerably less emotional maturity and thus the skills to manipulate successfully). They can gaslight a partner just as surely as a partner can gaslight them. They are people. In all the dimensions that involves. It is very patronizing to consider them capable of being nothing more than victims, always (though the smarter the woman is, the more she will use this to her advantage).

No, I am not saying women are evil, or inherently manipulative and men are innocent. I am simply pointing out that BOTH are people. With all their flaws and vulnerabilities. If you want one of them to win and you take sides, fair enough, but let us not pretend it is a process of justice then, it is a gangwar between two sides. My preference is to hear both of them and ensure both of them are allowed to speak. To support the woman in following processes to get justice as well as support the man if he is being denied a voice in the name of protecting the woman. Hopefully at some point it resolves or goes to court where better people than me will judge.

Not all abusive men are malicious

Society raises men with some godawful defaults. Men, being on top of this foodchain have little reason to evaluate their privilege unless there is a compelling reason. This is not right. It is not wrong. It is what it is till something changes it. If we mean to change it, how are we planning to? By discarding the inferior specimen or upgrading them? Are they totally useless or do they have insights for us? What happens when a specimen did all the right things and then fucked up? Have you never fucked up witht he opposite gender? I have. I have completely missed all signs of reluctance in an inexperienced man when I was horny. He didn't refuse. I assumed consent. He didn't initiate, I assumed playing safe with a woman. He seemed horny. In reality he was attracted, but not expecting sex at all and he was not even close to feeling ready for it, let alone being ambushed by a much more experienced woman. He'd never had sex. When I realized, I felt like a lecherous pot-bellied uncle pawing at a kid. Thankfully I'm a woman. Also thankfully, I realized it before it went too far and before he was forced to speak up. I apologized. I hear it is a proof of guilt these days. It was still wrong. I did it. I learned what not to do from it. I didn't do it again. But it was completely unintended and I apologized and stopped when I learned. That is the magic word.

If we are to prevent gender violence, we need to engage with men. That needs to be a higher priority than cornering them for a lynching. Does this mean you become a "rape apologist"? No. Does it mean I forgive men if they say sorry? No. It means being aware that while you may enjoy being Jhansi ki Raani, the forgivenesss is neither mine nor yours to give. We are not the people wronged (except when we are, then of course it is our call). We best serve by keeping a dialogue open instead of shutting people up by speaking for them or not letting them speak. By supporting both, but also recognizing that women can be disproportionately more vulnerable to intimidation or violence and being protective observers. In other words, offering the conflict a safe space to play out. This can be as simple as calling an action unacceptable, but not taking sides and imposing our own preferred judgments.

But I don't believe that mass condemnations fulfill any useful purpose. An actual creep just adds to his bogus victim narrative and a genuinely regretful person cannot afford to hold the right stand because it will make him a target. At the same time, if the victim needs assistance and asks for it, we must extend it. If we believe she needs assistance and she hasn't asked for it, we may offer it. Beyond that, this business of targeting people is little more than a Khap Panchayat conducted on social media. Where random tinpot dictators carry out punishments on whim.

Not all wrongs are crimes

Divorce rates are rising rapidly. Relationships are breaking all the time. Almost each one of them will come to a bitter end before splitting. That is a lot of bitterness. And each one will have their own version of the story. People lie to their partners, they cheat on them, they say ugly, hurtful things, they fight, they are unfair to each other, they rewrite memories of time together through various interpretations in hindsight.... it is all human behavior. Men make passes at women, women can be so paranoid of misbehavior that they may see it in an ignorant action.

To me, a big part of what is right and wrong is intent. Whether the person intends hate or harm or whether it is an entitled idiot. Idiots can be educated. Malice is deliberate. It is in the interest of both men and women that there be education for the idiots and the punishments be reserved for malice. And I am saying this as a person who has been on the receiving end of serious wrongs at the hands of men. Some I will never forgive, others hurt more, but I knew it was an idiot, not a villain.

There is a legitimate space for counselling, for social dialogue, mediation, that is rapidly being lost in the lust to come down hard on "what we cannot accept" - it has become an exhibition of our own ethics more than a quest for functional solutions. When you see an idiot, there is no point saying his mother should have raised him better, it is better if you engage with him and help him evolve his thinking. I do that. Which is how I know a lot of people learn.

A lot of men learn the opposite too from the lynch mob culture

In recent years, I have seen men who would normally identify as "feminists" and lecture me about my sneering at feminists come to very very serious trouble over their actions with intimate partners. Actions they most certainly regret and don't defend at all. Actions they did not realize till too late were wrong. They have lost jobs, they have lost friends, they have been completely uprooted from life as they knew it. All three have sworn off intimate relationships for life. They are decent people. I have also heard a real creep say that if he's been branded as a rapist, he might as well rape. In none of the cases was the impact what one would hope for, for a functional society.

One could argue that the world is better off with them being single. Forever. It is a matter of perspective. I think people who tend to do wrong need intimacy even more than most, and they would be better off learning how to be functional with it. Who is to decide what is better? My view is that it should be the person wronged. But a truly authentic judgment by them too cannot be possible if we have a mob baying for blood and making any forgiveness look like a crime against women immemorial. Letting the side down and all, letting a man walk free, etc.

There is absolutely nothing preventing legal justice for the woman and indeed our presence should ensure that. But is it our place to push her toward one or the other? I believe not. I don't see a "virtue" in punishing men. I see a virtue in adequate amends being made, to the satisfaction of the injured party (no, I'm not talking about negotiating marriages by bullying her).

When confronted, it is invariably the decent ones who would admit and apologize if they even believe they were in the least at fault, because their ethics don't stand for harming women - and they do not like that they did it. But if any admission or apology is proof of guilt, then it is very fast education for men that even if you fuck up, don't admit. It is what the powerful do and get away with. This is counterproductive to gender relations.

Patronizing women does not empower them

Women are assumed to be the weaker gender for historical and actual reasons. Men, traditionally being the custodians of power, are assumed to be deliberately malicious in their actions against the woman. If they apologize, it is proof, if they deny, they are victim blaming. There is no right answer once the accusation is public. But there is no option that says they did not realize the gravity of their actions till too late. This would not bother me in the least if the guilt of the man were indisputable - for example crowds thrashing molesters brings me unholy glee. I definitely believe that social rejection of crimes against women is a superior answer to solving them than judicial punishments that happen out of sight. Because social rejection is deterrence as well. Gang rapes happen because some find it entertaining and others mind their business. Growing gang rapes is the opposite of this social rejection/

Even better if the man publicly admits his mistake. Still better if the woman forces him to do it and wins and gets him acknowledged publicly as the one in the wrong with his actions. Unless there is injury or other complications in the case, I actually believe this to be the superior solution to cases dragging on for years punishing the victim further - best case, years of inconvenience, worse case, reliving trauma over and over, lack of closure. At the end of it, the perpetrator gets punished - maybe. I definitely think an immediate and public demand for accountability, getting it and punishment or apology as the case may be is better.

But this too must be a woman led process. You cannot simply corner a man and bombard him with condemnation. There is a need for victims too to learn to find their voice and us LISTENING to them, instead of barging in with our recommendations is a good start. What does she want? Does she simply want to shame him? Does she WANT him to be cornered and forced to flee or apologize? Does she want to confront him and demand answers? Does she want a public acknowledgment of the harm he did to her? You will never know, if you already know what must be done with "men like him". Nor is the woman empowered in being thought of as too stupid to lie or too dumb to strategize how to confront someone who wronged her.

The more robustly and fairly you can hold the space for the process to play out, the more dignity you afford her. Or... if she was trying to frame someone, that comes out too. Help enough women - actually help through a situation, not just comment and forget and you'll run into it. And you don't get used and end up having to bear guilt. Have you ever thought what happened in the conscience of those "well meaning" souls who went on national TV condemning Khurshid Anwar for his rape that he was denying shortly before he committed suicide? I have thought of it often. He may well have been guilty or innocent. But what happened still wasn't justice. I don't believe having an ideological obligation to support women quite covers my willingness to risk irreparable harm to men for my conscience. I don't have a side in this war. I want evolution to coexistence. There is much to learn. For men, for (gasp) women, and for us, in relatively better off situations, trying to help others.

Nor does it do women any respect to blindly go with everything they say as though it is too much to expect a woman to have her words scrutinized like an actual person. Protect them from harm, definitely. Act on everything they say? Let's skip the Pavlov for a bit. Try this. Your mom is a woman too. It is very unlikely you wish her ill. Would you believe everything she said and act on her behalf immediately if she accused someonein your family or your father ? But then you know her. You see her as a real person. Worthy of you applying your mind to her situation and offering her your highest analysis instead of blind nods. You know what she can be counted on to narrate factually and where she is likely to be overwhelmed by her perspective. Unlike your trophies of messiah showcasing. You'd give her the respect of not being blind and responding on autopilot but being the eyes examining her blind spots. You would question, ask for details, want a fuller picture before jumping in with a high stakes decision. And you would back her interest all the way, and would be her fiercest champion if she were wronged but not necessarily based on the first emotional, incoherent and one sided narration! This isn't shaming her. It is support. It is support that cares to invest deeper thinking and want genuinely beneficial solutions. Women and men on the internet are real people too. Not just props for your exhibition of rapid ethics.

Unlike the people who call me names for raining on their exhibition, I actually make an effort to engage with the victim, offer support beyond social media and even my home in cases that need an exit. I have got in the face of raging men and stood in their way with flat out refusals for access to women. I don't need to talk pretty, because I solidly act in their interest and have done it enough to know that the tongue waggers are irrelevant to what needs to be done and short of physical violence, it almost never is immediate action. Takes longer than the life cycle of a trend.

Anyway, this is another partial ramble on the subject of gender relations (I'm planning to write a book, because too many things and nuances to consider).

Moral of the story is, you believe women are historically wronged and therefore every single man to harm a woman must pay for the sins of his fathers, so to say instead of having the luxury of being someone who didn't know better in the here and now. And this is assuming the accusation is truthful, I believe that if a man or woman can be educated to be more effective with the opposite gender, it is a value addition to a society. If they cannot, there still is a need for a space for calm dialogue, developing a larger picture and a person led process toward resolving - whether with understanding or legal process. Therefore, your responses and mine, to cases brought into social media courts differ because we differ in what role we believe society should play. It is ok. You have your view, I have mine. I have no idea which is better. I am choosing based on what I know at the moment. But I have the right to hold my view, as you do yours. Disagreement with you does not amount to malintent.

Some days I fear I'm going to end up as an ideological sanctuary for dysfunctional men in transit into gender sensitivity. Not because I won't put them six feet under and dance on their metaphorical graves (I have one hell of a ruthless streak) if called for. I totally would and I don't think anyone has any illusions about that. I think it will be because I won't, till called for, no matter what a mob thinks.

Because I'd rather society works, than finding someone to blame for it not working and having zero tolerance for any learning curve. I would rather have a presence that brings awareness and insist that the right thing be done, than simply discard people one after the other as they are found imperfect. Will be a pretty empty world then.

2

I have a voice and it has weight. However great or little it is. It is my responsibility to use it in a manner that is congruent with my goals. I have an interest in women's empowerment. I have an interest in women getting justice. In justice being accessible to more and more women.

A video went viral yesterday, that allegedly showed Subhash Kapoor confessing to sexual assault of Geetika Tyagi. [Caution: Trigger warning for sexual assault]

Believing it to be a recent incident about how the girl was conned into not filing a case, I was outraged on the girl's behalf, only to discover this morning, that it is a two year old incident and Danish Raza, one of the persons seen in the video has issued the following statement:

You can remain a mute spectator only till a point of time. Beyond that if you keep quiet, rather than neutral, you become a party to the 'crime'. As the first hand witness to the the evening on which Geetika Tyagi has based her allegations of molestation on Subhash Kapoor, both mutual friends introduced by me, and having been there with them 90% of the time that night, I need to put some facts on record.

1. Geetika's first narration to me of this incident, the day after it happened was not of sexual assault. To me it clearly sounded like something that happened between two people and there was no mention of an assault. Her first version was exactly same as Subhash's (consistent) version and her version changed only two days later when she alleged, in the presence of Atul Sabharwal, that 'force' was used. Even in that case she says Subhash stopped when she said 'stop" so where is molestation in it?

2. At 5 am, which must have been in the middle of the incident when she messaged me asking if I have reached home, and I called her back in response immediately, she very coolly told me " Subhash has woken up and he is leaving". there was no mention of the incident, forget force or molestation.

3. Previously, after 4 am, when Geetika's sister and her friend left and only me Subhash and her were left in that house, I asked her "should i wake him up so we can leave"'? and she said " No, its ok, let him sleep"

4. when I told her i want to go home she said "Ok, if you want to go, you can go". I obviously assumed she had no issues with Subhash's presence in her house and left.

5. All through our interaction over the 6 years, it was almost always Geetika who would initiate a meeting with three of us, (not related to work but just coffee sessions). Subhash never asked me to get Geetika along. So there is no way Subhash could have been planning anything that she alleges.

And why am I doing this? Well for the same reason that I told her "Had you even hinted of molestation, at 5 a.m. in the morning I would have been the 1st person to go with you to the police station"

This does not mean Sanjay Kapoor is innocent or Geetika is making a false accusation. It is common for victims of assault to meekly conform till they assimilate what happened to them and are able to speak up. This statement probably doesn't help her interest, if that is what happened. Regardless, this is beyond my capacity to fact check or take a side in.

This is the third case in recent times where an accusation of sexual assault has been made against a public figure through media, but there is no police case filed. The earlier two are the Tarun Tejpal case that has seen him in prison for 3 months largely on the basis of viral outrage created by leaked accusations. Khurshid Anwar is another, where he was accused of brutal rape but no police complaint filed. Khurshid Anwar committed suicide.

This, to me is not a process of justice, however guilty the accused may be. Nor does this development do anything to improve women's rights in general, since all it does is gets police to file cases after outrage, which the vast majority of India's women have no power to engineer. All it remains is toxic page 3 material, that the state may or may not take up depending on its compulsions, which are rarely related with the well being of the victim, in my belief.

My belief in women's rights does not extend to the right of women to bypass law and draw punitive social consequences on men they accuse of assault. If this makes me something less as a feminist, so be it. I see feminism or indeed any activism as a protest of fighting and reversing long standing patterns of injustice, not one of adopting individual cases without rattling the power status quos at the root of the injustice.

I hereby declare the following:

As an extremely conditional feminist, I hereby declare media accusations of rape/assault not accompanied by cases will be disbelieved by me.

This is again not to say the assault did not happen. But I think there are women with far less voice who will suffer skepticism from such.

Further, I will be treating every case that hits media demanding "justice" that is already in process as similar tamasha. Enough.

Make way for people who have actually been denied justice instead of those who'd like to serve punishment without legal process - deserved or not.

I feel no need to prove my humanitarian credentials by raising my voice at every wrong, whether required or not as though it is the raising of the voice that is the change, even if it carefully skirts established inequalities.

I am also of the opinion that media prefers to address human rights through individual cases, so that they are not seen supporting identities that the powerful would not like being empowered. Soni Sori is easier than "tribal woman". Nirbhaya is easier than "women". That way, everyone who didn't do that specific wrong, but routinely subjugates other representatives of their identity can breathe easy. No accusation against them. Media doesn't have to court their ire and get offices vandalized or advertisements withdrawn or perhaps a frown in the next awards function. A coward's way that fragments the sisterhood fighting to overturn inequalities into individual cases cherry picked for justice. And perhaps this is why elite activists prefer it too. Easier to blame strangers than people like us, right?

 

This will probably mean I will not be commenting on individual cases unless there is justice denied.

I am exiting this bullshit.

2

These are interesting days to be watching media invent news on one end and desperately avoid looking at news on the other. Here are some of the more obvious ones.

Rioting politicians

While Times Now ran a campaign to demand resignations of rioting MPs who sprayed pepper spray and so on, there was a strange sannata on the BJP MLAs who rioted in the Assembly, including breaking a microphone and tearing up documents. If MPs who riot in Parliament should resign, what should MLAs who riot in Assemblys do? Unclear. Times Now did not see them. It seems.

Loss to the exchequer

This one has enough variations to become a meme. Times Now says Kejriwal's waivers for people who refused to pay electricity bills following his call to protest will cost 6 crores, and Times Now is more concerned about Delhi's budget than Delhi's government. I suppose the Delhi government should give him a thank you card, because the attention of a classy channel like Times Now ain't something to sneeze at. They didn't even have a coughing fit over one lakh crore loan write-offs over 13 years revealed by the RBI in November. Most of them large corporate loans. And I don't recall him even noticing the budget. Here are highlights.

revenues foregone budget
Revenues foregone by the country without protest from Times Now make a mockery out of their concerns over electricity bills, but what do I say, priorities. They say rich people are ok with big expenses and haggle with the vegetable vendor? Image: The Hindu
revenues foregone gold diamond jewellery
Revenues foregone on gold and diamond jewellery are about ten times the amoung giving Times Now sleepless nights these days

More outrage fodder may be found here. Waiting eagerly for this year's coverage of the budget when farm loans become a big concern. Or perhaps, with Lok Sabha elections coming up, electricity bills will remain the nation's biggest problem.

Going at this rate parties will declare in their manifesto that if you don't pay taxes you will get a 50% discount after they come to power! ~ Rahul Kanwal

Rahul Kanwal seems to be confusing his troll account with his real life journo account these days, because the party whose leader's advert he was promoting next to his Taj Mahal of slander had already offered to abolish income tax and then did an abrupt about turn.

I zabardasti put this one in, because I didn't want to leave Rahul Kanwal out of this post after the efforts he is taking on Twitter these days, but he seems to have lost it totally these days what with accusing an MLA of dealing in porn websites without evidence, introducing a BJP supporter as an AAP representative on his show and what not. Com-ple-te tizzy. All I can say is that I *hope* this is paid media, because if it isn't and this isn't deliberate, but his genuine aptitude for critical thinking, the price he is paying in credibility is phenomenal.

In other news, Arnab Goswami seems to have stolen Kejriwal's property

Arnab Goswami has admitted on National television that the accommodation allocated to Arvind Kejriwal is on the scale of Buckingham Palace. In reality, it appears not to be a tiny fraction of it. Arnab Goswami should disclose to the Nation that probably isn't interested in knowing, where the remaining property is. More information on Arvind Kejriwal Palace.

To cover an event or a suicide?

If it is Aam Aadmi Party doing a rock concert for the mango man, go ahead, cover a party worker's suicide for personal reasons. The worker had no official position. If it is the messiah of corporations doing a hi tech event, ignore the suicide attempt of an ex-parliamentary secretary of the no-longer-estranged Yeddyurappa, SA Ramdas accused of 5 years of a five year sexual relationship and secret marriage but refusal to acknowledge publicly by a widow who threatened suicide if he continued to refuse to own the relationship publicly. No Masala here. He ain't no Khurshid Anwar or a Tejpal. He was found hanging from the fan and rushed to hospital, where he is recovering.

Kid woke up. Gotta go. I will probably update this post. Hilarious times coming up with the Mukesh Ambani FIR. With media going all out to bat, and usually anti-corruption celebrities, industrialists and politicians maintaining studied "didn't notice what was going on", it has fallen solidly on the media to hold this fort. We're in for good cinema TV. Stay tuned to know more about Rakhi Birla's homework evasion scam and Arvind Kejriwal refusing to answer how his government can improve education with a notorious homework evader on his cabinet... or some such. Maybe new entertainment should be a separate post.

2

It is over two months that Tarun Tejpal has been in jail for raping a woman who did not want to file a police complaint. His chargesheet keeps getting delayed, and so does bail. Since I have taken a lot of interest in how this is unfolding, I decided to follow up and I still think that this case is very, very .... strange.

For one, the victim did not file a complaint. What the victim did, was released a series of emails to the media, who published them without question. Then hopped in BJP's Social Media team, a parade of panelists where the "Tejpal" side was mostly token and largely booed out of the arena by well organized media. Extremely reasonable skepticism "Why did the victim get into the lift ith someone who raped her on the day before, the second time?" was met by well organized bullying. Apparently, one cannot expect aversion for the rapist or at least some wariness and if the rape victim is fine being with her rapist alone, who are we to comment on that? The image of Aditya Raj Kaul yelling at Shoma Chaudhary and openly insulting her on National media was something you don't see sane journalists do with the worst criminals. It wasn't reporting. It was a pure hate attack. Nice suggestion for the country to understand how to understand this case. Point out the outrage. Done.

The full horror of the case was discovered by us as a nation, at which point the Chief Minister of Goa had to take notice and the police machinery swung into action and the case dropped into oblivion as long as Tejpal made no move to get free.

Not having been in the lift with Tejpal and his victim, I am not going to comment on what "really" happened or not.

My issue continues to be with the completely unbalanced response to this case, which now has started looking a design - NOT by the victim, who may indeed turn out to be wronged at the end of the day.

Check out this second series of very low key developments. Tejpal's bail application was accompanied by a copy of an email the victim had sent his daughter after his daughter visited the victim's mother. This is the same visit that got a complaint of intimidation. However, the email thanks Tiya Tejpal for visiting the victim's mother and in fact, even acknowledges Tiya's concern that the victim may be getting bad advice and says that she needs time to process what has happened (apart from accusing Tejpal of sending emails to her father's friend claiming that what happened was mutual). The victim actually appreciates Tiya Tejpal for being there for her all through in that email.

The next morning, she calls this same visit intimidation and does a press release asking Tejpal's family to not contact her further.  Something clearly changed between Tiya Tejpal visiting a woman who was a close family friend and who had stayed at Tiya's place in Bombay and the next morning, when someone who had staunchly supported her even asking after her was labeled intimidation in front of the media.

This email pretty much put paid to the intimidation accusations and went completely unreported by media. Out of the blue, came a new intimidation accusation. From his Investigating Officer, Sunita Sawant this time. The strange part of this is that her reply to Tarun Tejpal's bail application makes no mention of intimidation. It was apparently simply claimed in court.... and to the real court - the media. Got widely reported - as did Tejpal's letter of denial. There is no other mention of Tarun Tejpal not cooperating all through. Not even with the media hunting for things to publish about him and finding all kinds of things.

Within a day of Tarun Tejpal's letter denying intimidation of Investigating Officer Sunita Sawant being released, there was a new accusation. Again intimidation. This time, the victim claimed that Tarun Tejpal's family was harassing her by sending an email with a photograph of hers. Tejpal has denied. Asked cyber cell to investigate. And so on. The Think Festival website must have got lakhs of hits in the wake of the festival, and the photo was right there on the front page. Probably because no one had realized a rape accusation would happen. It got taken off much later.

Anyone who knows the basics of "stealing" pictures to add to blog or tweets knows that anyone can copy images off the internet. There is no way a recipient of an anonymous email can know who sent it. So anyone could have sent it. Considering that this whole case was built with carefully crafted "press releases" that did not redact victim's name, so I am a bit skeptical of emails becoming public in this case. Right in time for a new accusation of intimidation.

So basically, a crazy accusation got a crazy response and we are sending the cyber cell investigating how a picture published publicly got circulated to people. Good luck finding that out. More importantly, there were several websites that published her photo. Many of them identifiable people, who can be proven guilty just sitting right here. Madhu Kishwar tweeted out her name. Scroll.in a site created by the founder of Kafila (also some history of hate with Tehelka)  published her photo, including the "intimidating" photo that got circulated way after everyone and his cousin into publishing knew that this was a rape victim and thus not ok to reveal. It has been taken down now. BreakfastNewsTV continues to have two of her photos in their coverage of the case. Nice profile shots, no blurring, no blacking out, nothing, which they haven't even taken down a week after photos got called as intimidation tactics. Identifiable people, organizations. No problem. Anonymous email becomes a new intimidation case against pet villain.

Funny part here is that the article on scroll.in quotes Kavita Krishnan, who had been among the victim's close "supporters". There is absolutely no way she could have missed it, since even if Scroll didn't give her a copy, her followers on Twitter and Facebook would be sure to tell her that an article quoted her and sent her links. That is how social media works, but apparently she too didn't have an issue with the photo till it was time for a new intimidation complaint, when an anonymous email gets attributed to Tarun Tejpal as soon as he denies an accusation of intimidation, which had come as soon as he had dented the previous accusation of intimidation.

On a side note, Kavita Krishnan also "helped" another victim who claimed to be brutally raped. In that case too, the rape victim's accusations were leaked to the media instead of filing a police case. Khurshid Anwar committed suicide. Tarun Tejpal is in jail for the last two and half months. Neither of their victims filed the FIRs and both the victim's accusations on email for one and tape for another got leaked to media. The accused in both cases were left wing intellectuals, both victims were actively engaged in women's rights - one as a journalist, the other as an activist  and right wing social media took up and ran with the accusations with no room for any questions, till suicide for one case, and jail for another.

Khurshid Anwar and Tarun Tejpal may both be guilty - suicide or stepping down to allow fair process is proof of nothing, but the case gets rigged up through public opinion well before it hits the court, and to me this stinks of manipulating the justice system. It may simply be a case of Kavita having more faith in media to get instant results after appearing in panels and seeing the effectiveness. Or it may be someone else dishing out such rubbish advice - to misuse the anonymity granted to rape victims to launch a media war - turning the protection into a weapon.

I am not saying that rape accused must not be socially condemned, but a pattern here of trying a case in media courts alone and no FIR - till TRPs (or crisis) escalate enough for police to take it up - by which point it is judged and all that remains is for the police to present it as reported in the media in a court of law. These two cases so close to each other are rather extreme for a coincidence and yet I can neither imagine what the explanation could be nor can I remember the last time so many commonalities happened in two cases completely unrelated other than happening close together in terms of time. All other cases around this time were very subdued. Whether it was the Supreme Court intern or Dainik Bhaskar employee, or the marathon fight of the ex-STAR TV employee. No interest. So what was so special about these? Can't imagine any common factor other than the "leftist intellectuals".

A few other strange things came to my notice. I spoke with someone who is unwilling to be named for reasons I found convincing, but another clear bias is the police wanting a "water tight case". Notice I am not saying police having a water tight case. I came to know that at least one person interviewed by the police in relation with the case shared what they saw, and her statement was not recorded, because what she described would dilute the case. She had not defended Tarun Tejpal, but her observations would make the accuations ... not as they sounded in the email. I don't want to get into those, simply because this isn't about the victim or slandering her, but the Goa police cherry picking statements in their "investigation". So in this I am inclined to believe Tejpal when he says he is unlikely to get a fair hearing in Goa.

Another anomaly I was informed of was another witness being requested to say she saw something she did not see. Both of these are second person accounts, and thus I do not want to get into their details, though I believe that the sources did not have any motive to deliberately give me wrong information. But that again is my belief. The point is that if a housewife can find out so much sitting at home, how is it that our media is not able to go beyond press releases issued by one party in a serious crime and chasing in the direction they point?

And I did one more thing. One I believed is standard journalistic procedure conveniently set aside for this case. I contacted Tiya Tejpal. NOT about Tarun Tejpal, but about actions attributed to her and published in print. I figured if we can print quotes of family members of Delhi Gang Rape and murder accused, then it isn't unreasonable to give a family member of an accused who has been reported doing and saying things the chance to at least confirm that the reporting is accurate. Basic verification before printing stories, I have heard. Not if the target is Tarun Tejpal, it seems. I only wish someone had shown such dedication on the Radia Tapes.

My communication with Tiya Tejpal I will post separately.