Hours after Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury stepped down from the post on Thursday morning, the National Commission for Women (NCW) expressed “dissatisfaction” over her explanation on the handling of the sexual assault complaint against former editor Tarun Tejpal.
The commission would also question the three male colleagues in whom the victim had confided after being allegedly assaulted on why they remained silent for 10 days until the victim lodged her complaint with Chaudhury.
“We will call the three journalists for questioning. It is disturbing to know that the male colleagues knew everything and yet chose to remain silent. We came to know of it after Chaudhury mentioned this in her defence,” said Shamina Shafiq, NCW member in charge of Goa.
Shafiq said the Tehelka case also raised serious questions about the capability of various organisations, especially in the private sector, in sensitively handling complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace.
“The government, and more importantly the women & child development ministry, will have to ensure that the provisions of the recent Act to protect women at the workplace are promptly implemented,” she added.
While explaining her actions in the case, Chaudhury also lodged a complaint with the NCW for action against those who vandalised her house during the day.
“She has sought police protection. We have spoken to the Delhi police commissioner and asked the poice to take action. What the BJP workers did is highly objectionable,” said Shafiq. The NCW has also sought an explanation from BJP leader Vijay Jolly, who led the mob that vandalised Chaudhury’s house.
Soon after the NCW meeting, Chaudhury said she had stepped down since she was pained by allegations questioning her integrity. “It pained me to hear that I was tarnishing Tehelka’s image.”