<link rel="stylesheet" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans%3A400italic%2C700italic%2C400%2C700">Sexual abuse Archives « Aam JanataSkip to content

This is with regard to Vrinda Grover's facebook post as well as assorted defenders of Tejpal's poor, helpless victim, which I cannot comment on individually to engage in debate, so I am choosing to respond here.

To clarify my stand with regard to this case, I do not know Tarun Tejpal personally, have never even corresponded with him or Shoma Chaudhary. Maybe I made a few tweets to Shoma on Twitter criticizing something - I don't recall. That is the extent of my being "friends" with them. This blog has over a dozen articles questioning the media bias on this case. Not a single one of them claims that Tejpal is innocent or even says the victim is lying. My points are:

  1. I believe there is a concerted effort to present this case in a unidimensional and unambiguous manner. This violates my right to accurate information through news media.
  2. It is not respectful of my country, its laws or women's rights in general to rig a case through media in this manner.

I do not understand how it is a media trial to raise questions about an issue that was originally raised through organized promotion of selective leaks of confidential communication and judged in media. It is a response, not initiation of a trial. If a lie was told in media, it must be responded in media. The media supari tactics of hit and run reporting are not ethical in my view. The trial was initiated by the halo-dharis and judged in media and not just Tejpal, but his family and organization suffered before a judge ever saw this case.

That the original complaint that put this man in jail for four months mentions forced entry into lifts on separate occasions - neither of which are evident on CCTV footage is most certainly relevant to anyone following the case in media who knows it for a "fact" that the victim was physically pulled into the lift - based on the victim's own statement. Not to mention your oh so feminist media (it turns out wrongly) reporting that the CCTV footage confirmed the victim's complaint.

What is basically happening here is a widespread outrage about a media trial verdict of "guilty" being questioned - parading as outrage over "rape apology". I challenge anyone to show any publication with any kind of credibility that has called Tejpal innocent. I can show thousands that call him guilty. No one has commented on victim's character or such, but there is an abundance of coverage of Tejpal's business dealings, a comment made in another year altogether and more to create a perception of his character. So let us not get sanctimonious about media trials when all the "rape apology" that anyone has ever done is questioned the black and white nature of information actively perpetrated and aggressively enforced in public domain - incidentally information put forth by the victim's supporters or the victim herself - without redacting the victim's name, since we are suddenly fussy about these things.

Has the victim complained a single time that her private emails were distributed by someone who disclosed her identity? This is not just a disclosure of her identity, it is a violation of her privacy on an extremely serious matter - far more serious than a description of CCTV footage away from the scene of the rape - unless she authorized it. No objection by victim? Why not? She is fine with graphic details of her trauma published, but relatively ordinary descriptions of getting in and out of lifts - that do not mention her identity in any manner and in fact don't even mention the mild violence of pulling her in that she described? Who are we fooling here?

The CCTV footage has been shown to many carefully identified and selected persons in the media and other influential and powerful persons, by family and a close coterie of friends of Tarun Tejpal.

Well, why wouldn't they, if they believe Tejpal to be a victim of a massive campaign against him and have what they believe is evidence that proves his innocence? That the footage is not recklessly released, but selectively shown indicates (to me) that the intent is not to make the footage public, but to simply get the point out to the wider public that the allegations are not as black and white as they have already been reported - it is a correction of a public opinion and as part of the "public" who gets strategically incited to outrage, it is public right to know what our voice fuels. Or the whole thing should have been taken to court without involving public outrage as leverage.

This is in violation of the law and the order of the court. Yes the family has a right to defend Tarun Tejpal, but not by committing unlawful and illegal acts.

I am not a lawyer. Can someone explain how it violates law and order of the court? As far as I am aware, there is no gag on the case, other than the voluntary selective one by media. The family may have done it to defend Tejpal, but none of the reporting says he is innocent. This is more neutrality than the supposed feminists have been able to manage - that too in a heavily prejudiced situation.

I would like Vrinda Grover to explain how Tejpal's family has done unlawful and illegal acts, because such allegations have been used to deny bail in hearings.

The young woman journalist does not have a copy of the CCTV footage.

This is pathetic, Vrinda Grover. From Indian feminists fighting for the right of women to have access to evidence in their own case, the lack of access to the victim is being peddled as some kind of standard to deny factual information of a very public case being known to public. Also, the public has not got a copy of the CCTV footage. Only a description. Not even seen it.

Also, the victim may not have a copy of the footage, but the victim has seen the footage before her statement to the magistrate. She is not unaware of what it contains, as Vrinda Grover seems to be trying to lead the reader to believe. The victim changed some details from her original complaint after seeing the footage - which, before anyone accuses, I am not holding against her in any manner. It is common to be fuzzy on details after trauma. I am simply mentioning that she has seen it clearly enough to be able to find it useful for her statement.

I have not seen the CCTV footage. No one who has taken a public or private position asking for justice for the young woman journalist and demanded a fair trial, not prejudiced or overawed by the campaign conducted by the Tarun Tejpal gang, has seen the CCTV footage.

In other words, the whole circus gunning for Tejpal is taking the victim's accusations as fact and is not interested in any information to the contrary. For the record, I too haven't seen the footage and I too want justice for the victim. Only my definition of justice is not "What the victim says" but what actually happens in courts of law - which has been pre-rigged with massive media campaigning, so hope for my definition of justice is rather dim at the moment - regardless of who is guilty or innocent. The case has been botched beyond belief by the evangelists of "whatever the woman says" as women's rights.

We are not supposed to see that footage because it reveals the identity of the woman journalist. That is the law. 

I am a mere blogger, not a lawyer, but this seems like deliberate disinformation to me. Disclosing the identity of the victim on media is illegal. It is beyond absurd to say that those who KNOW the identity of the victim cannot see the footage because it REVEALS the identity.

Is the woman insane or merely trying to con the public into continuing to believe this "campaign for justice and fuck the law"?

For all those getting suckered into this crap, remember the countless interviews of victim's families, including reporters informing neighbours that the victim was raped because they were dumbfucks enough to want comments about her for TRP laden crap. That sleaze is unethical, but still not illegal till they reveal victim's identity ON MEDIA.

Yes we must debate issues and cases of public importance.

Here is a question I would like Vrinda Grover and gang to reply to. As a feminist, if you have supported a man being thrown into jail for violating a woman, is the woman's complaint allegedly being provably wrong in critical areas your responsibility to investigate and clarify your stand on or should a woman making accusations be supported unconditionally and exclusively always?

On each ocassion the friends and family of Traun Tejpal have orchestrated a media capaign against the young woman journalist. The entire campaign hinges on the 'young woman's character', which when decoded means the same old thing, her past sexual relationships.

This is slander about Tejpal's family. To the best of my knowledge, the first bail was denied when the victim claimed to be intimidated by the visit of Tiya Tejpal to her mother. Incidentally a visit the victim thanked Tiya for on the night before complaining. The second bail was denied when Tejpal was accused of intimidating his Investigating Officer - incidentally, this is not recorded in either the investigation records or the chargesheet. Miraculously claimed only during the bail hearing and forgotten since. After that, the victim claimed that photos of her were circulated by Tejpal's family. To the best of my knowledge, most of these forwards went to original recipients of the press release email leaks. I obtained one from a journalist and it turned out to be an image publicly available on the Think festival website. Now the cyber police are on a wild goose chase trying to find out which anonymous account emailed a publicly available image (that was later taken down) to intimidate the victim - must be Tejpal's family. Then you have the mobile phone found on Tejpal even though he was officially allowed STD calls at that point (got revoked after that incident). Then I lost interest.

Can you explain how these are "orchestrated media campaigns about her character"? I have been following this case from the start. First out of outrage, then when I smelled a media rat and thought someone should raise a counter narrative. I don't have many contacts, but I managed to connect with some ex-Tehelka journalists, Tiya Tejpal and some others. So far, the victim's character is not an issue I ran into in spite of actively seeking information. I still have no idea what her character is like. I know who her boyfriend is - from her own letter. So can you describe the method of this campaign and who its audience was if someone seeking information did not run into it? Or are these campaigns also like the photo intimidation? Circulating mainly among those who got original email leaks?

Is it a coincidence that these articles appear at a juncture when a bail petition will be moved for Tarun Tejpal in the Supreme Court.

No idea, but I can definitely say, accusations about Tejpal's family intimidating victim, disclosing her identity, breaking laws are being presented in time for a bail hearing. As usual.

I firmly believe that undertrials have a right to bail. However the jails are overcrowded with an undertrial population that is disproportionately POOR.

Right. Again that nice "feminist" concept of some people not getting rights being used as an excuse to deny rights you claim to usually support. Twice in one article. Not bad.

Where the accused persons can threaten witnesses, or tamper with evidence or use their position to cause prejudice to a fair trial, their liberty is constrained through denial of bail. We do not have a witness -victim protection mechanism that offers any real security to the complainants and so at times bail should be refused.

What is this intimidation? The victim claims a visit she thanked for was intimidation. An anonymously sent, publicly available photo was intimidation specifically by Tejpal's family. The investigating officer was "intimidated" by Tejpal. None of these describe any specific actions of threat from Tejpal or family directed at her. Though of course I am not naive enough to imagine these would be done publicly, but at least where exposed, they would describe how the intimidation happened?

'Going by the powerful people theory, let us assume Tejpal is indeed an intimidator with great power. Surely his being in jail wouldn't make the victim safer if he has "reach"? On the other hand, if he is out of jail, wouldn't it be one reason less to intimidate the victim (that is, if someone can explain how intimidation can cause bail to begin with unless the victim is the judge too)?  Logic says, intimidation will deny bail, not cause it - like Vrinda Grover is arguing.

Another problem with the intimidation theory is that the victim holds no power to free Tejpal. The case against him has not been filed by her to begin with. She was refusing anyway. Suppose she got successfully intimidated. What would she do? She can hardly deny her allegations as they are in writing in public domain as well as in court records and statements in front of magistrate. As long as the allegations exist, she can do nothing. What would intimidating her achieve other than denial of bail - which is already happening?

We live in a real world where power, influence and position, can and does manipulate and subvert and truth. It appears that at times these results can be achieved even when the person is in custody.

This sounds more like a threat than a concern, considering that so far, all the media trials have happened against Tejpal and with active role by mega news channels. The supposedly all powerful Tejpal has been unable to defend his rights at times (including visits by family, pen and paper or news media neutrality), let alone getting out of jail or sabotaging the case. Even the victim's description of Tejpal's daughter's actions were not verified with the daughter - in spite of the victim's letter saying that she confronted Tejpal on victim's behalf - before being published in newspapers that Tejpal's daughter claimed to have seen Tejpal acting in an inappropriate manner with another woman when she was 13. Something Tiya flat out denied saying. Her visit to the victim's mother was painted in media as intimidation without bothering to seek the other side of the story at all.

The CCTV footage is hardly the only hole in this mega justice story. It is merely another straw. What of the verifiable facts of the email have stood to verification other than those she herself told her witnesses? Tiya denies how she had been described in the emails. Tiya claiming innocence on her visit to victim's mother is supported by the email by the victim herself. Descriptions of pulling by Tejpal are not backed by CCTV footage in a single instance (to even be remembered wrongly) according to reports.

You think the public whose outrage over "facts" helped put a man in jail has no right to know the status of the "facts" that triggered their outrage?

In contrast, the supposedly intimidated victim has people either staunchly declaring she is the victim and Tejpal is guilty or at best saying there is more to the case than the black and white narrative painted in media. Yet apparently it is Tejpal's family manipulating and subverting truth. Maybe they are conspiring to keep him in jail? Strange, suicidal strategies could learn a lesson or five here. Like "how to get free accommodation from the government by breaking law before pretending to apply for bail" or something.

Even as the law stands by, as a mere spectator, indifferent to its promise to protect the woman's dignity.

The woman's dignity was paraded by her well wishers in media when they printed a distraught rape victim's potentially inaccurate and angry emails word for word and treated them as the complete truth needing no verification. THAT is what is causing the victim to lose her dignity when the narrative does not tally up, not any mega conspiracies. The victim was distraught, but her advisers and media exploited her experience for maximum drama, and when the story gets holes, someone is a spoilsport. How dare his family not let him sit quietly in jail and rain on our parade? If more holes appear, this vicious lot will turn on the victim, quite forgetting that the victim herself did not do more than a complaint within the organization and it was them that treated every word without verification as total fact because it would put a "sensational" man in jail.

The victim's dignity was paraded by her supposed friends who stayed completely quiet on the violation allowing a repeat and still staying quiet leaving potential for more repeats. The victim's dignity was paraded by the people who sent out email forwards with graphic details of her trauma complete with her real identity and email. The victim's dignity was paraded when she failed to register even a token protest of extremely private conversation being leaked to media - thus confirming that it was deliberate. The victim's dignity was paraded when her "well wishers" - ALL of them familiar with law, women's rights and procedures after rape either failed to convince her to report her rape and go to a hospital immediately to get tested, but instead participated in a media tamasha starring her experience. Who suddenly think description of CCTV footage is somehow more violating of her rights than her intimate trauma splashed across front pages nationwide that THEY FANNED WITH ALL THEIR RESOURCES.

Who the heck are we kidding here?

What is happening is an organized intimidation of any attempt to question an organized black and white narrative. This includes supposed free speech activists suddenly happy about Outlook and Citizen getting notices for reporting that breaks no laws, discloses no identities.

The sad part is the victim may indeed be wronged, and the inconsistencies with her complaint may be memory issues. She may be wrong in adding some details deliberately or inadvertently, but making an honest complaint of violation. Or she may be totally fake on the other hand (unlikely), But this is no longer about her. By taking her words and treating them as cannon, media itself has vested them with enough credibility and power to be taken word for word as proof of crime and inconsistencies will only highlight the difference between the reality being uncovered, and the one that is comprehensively enforced in media to the point of mere saying that there is more to the case is called a "rape apology". The absolute character media invested in those leaked emails will haunt the victim, because inconsistencies will raise questions on how unverifiable parts can be trusted, when inaccuracies in reporting are hardly a new phenomenon.

At the end of the day, the victim will be used as far as she is useful keeping Tejpal out of commission and ditched ruthlessly denied of credibility for a real complaint she filed because she ended up being held accountable for a media agenda and taken onto a turf where the charges were determined by media, the judicial process was brought about by the media, and the media doesn't lose. It simply moves to the next shiny headline. The damage to her case from media exaggerations/emphasis will be paid for by the victim in credibility.

3

The 12 volume chargesheet against Tarun Tejpal seems to be a case of piling up enough trees to obfuscate the woods. I have not read the chargesheet and am going by media reports, which is why it took me so much time to ask - I had to be certain. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but these questions need to be asked.

  1. I hear that the CCTV footage video is not attached with the chargesheet. Considering that it is the most accurate neutral record of fact of at least part of the narrative Tarun Tejpal stands accused of, it is unbelievable that it is not provided. We know that the CCTV footage exists. We know that printouts from the footage frames are attached to the chargesheet. So the question begs to be asked. Why not provide the original video and let the scene speak for itself? This is a reasonable expectation, since Tarun Tejpal has consistently asked for the CCTV footage to be made public claiming that it will "vindicate" him. Under such circumstances, the only interpretation I can think of to not provide the video is because it will prove him right or at least dilute the charges against him and thus is not useful in the chargesheet.
  2. Tarun Tejpal's custody has been extended time and again mostly because of fears of intimidation. The intimidation seems to have manifested right on time to attend bail hearings as well, as I have shown in another article. One intimidation was in Tiya making a concerned visit to the victim's mother, which the victim thanked her for, only to call it intimidation on the next morning. Then you had the investigating officer accuse Tarun Tejpal of intimidating her - something that isn't on record before the bail hearing. Tarun Tejpal denied intimidating the Investigating Officer in a letter, only to have a "replacement intimidation" alleged. Anonymous leaks of the victim's identity through publicly available photos (the victim's identity was widely known courtesy emails she herself circulated) were attributed to Tarun Tejpal without any evidence to back it up, while media websites publishing the victim's photos openly are ignored. So, while the cyber crime departments will waste time trying to trace who sent publicly available photos in emails, and Tiya seems to have taken out the first allegation with the email, what remains is the second allegation of intimidation. None of the reports of the mega chargesheet mention the intimidation. Surely if Tarun Tejpal intimidated a police officer, that would be a charge against him? This mysterious accusation doesn't seem to appear anywhere except a verbal allegation in court just in time for bail to be denied. Why was Tarun Tejpal not charged with intimidating a police officer if he did it? If he didn't, what purpose did the accusation serve?

The recent developments give me a nasty feeling that an early prediction made during this case is going to happen. The victim did not file the case. The victim's letters of complaint used the words sexual harassment and demanded an apology for misconduct (which is not really covered by law as far as I know). The media magnified the case, pointed out the rape, the government proceeded as per rape, an investigation aiming to present a watertight case followed and now the case has reached a point where the police don't attach CCTV footage to the chargesheet.

My guess is that if the CCTV footage becomes known, the case collapses. It is a guess, based on the circus playing out. If that happens, the Goa government gets egg on their face, which will not look good before the Lok Sabha elections. So this will be dragged on till after the elections, if possible. Then, the inevitable happens. The case collapses or gets a far less sentence than advertised. BJP tells the girl they did what they could for her. Tells the world they were misled by media. Media turns and points to the girl.

Sum total of the issue is going to be that supposed women's rights supporters will have ended up heavily supporting the exploitation of an alleged sexual harassment victim's trauma for a media-politics circus that took her through the wringer and dropped her back exactly where she was and with questions about her honesty, because after all the hype, anything less than a conviction for rape is going to backfire on her - even if it hadn't been her who hyped it. At that point media will forget that it is they who magnified her word. It won't be media remembering that her demand for an apology was for misconduct.

Politicians will have had just another day at work. Media will move on to its next rescue for TRPs.

The victim will join the many masses who pass through media spotlight and earn channels crores of rupees and fare no better because of it.

This is the neo-patriarchy. Where women become entertainment, are not in control of their own agenda and are told that this attention and everyone else speaking for them and triggering loads of actions with consequences they will face alone when the dust settles.... is respect, support, feminism.

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.

3

A woman in Jharkhand has killed her neighbour for trying to rape her five year old daughter. The woman was out of her home for work when the neighbour misbehaved with her daughter. When she returned, her daughter told her. In a fit of rage, she bludgeoned the man to death.

While it isn't the prettiest of news to read, it is the best news I have read in a long while that contains the words "five year old" and "rape", considering that the usual news to come out of Jharkhand involves stuff like "12 year old boy rapes 5 year old girl", "5 year old girl raped and murdered", "Neighbour rapes 5-year-old, victim made to wait five hours outside hospital", "20 men gang rape 4 minor girls" and so on.

Is murder right? No. But I can't blame the mom for doing it. I believe in non-violence, but a threat to my child is one of the few things that would probably lead me to violence with no regrets. Call it the "mama tiger" syndrome or whatever, but I cannot regret the lack of one child rapist in this world.

Parents of girls outside the insulated middle and upper classes live with a constant fear for their safety that does not get addressed adequately by those who insist they have no right to restrict their daughters. It isn't merely about control, it is also about not wanting pain for their child. My maid in Borivli lived in a slum and often came to work with three daughters in tow because the few people she trusted were not available to look after them.

Child rape is on the rise. All rape is on the rise. In a country where a rape happens every seven minutes, courts are not resolving cases every seven minutes and that is the fact. Governments are not bothering to give a clear message that rape is not acceptable. What is a parent to do when a threat to their precious child lives next door?

Perhaps the male dominated thinking will sit up and take notice that a problem exists only when rapists get killed because they weren't controlled.

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.