The acquittal by a Mapusa Goa-based sessions court of Tarun Tejpal, publisher-editor of Tehelka, the once well-known investigative journalism magazine, on a rape charge on May 21, has come as a slap in the face of the monstrous regiment of women whose full-time occupation is to instigate gender wars. Now eight years after the incident, Tejpal has been acquitted on all charges. Implicit in the sessions court verdict — pronounced after the victim was cross-examined for over 100 hours — is acceptance of the defence that there was some degree of consent in the contretemps.
Tejpal’s predicament was aggravated by an ill-advised written (emailed) mea culpa sent by him to his victim apologising “unconditionally for the shameful lapse of judgement that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you”. Yet this apology letter which should have worked in his favour was used by the monstrous regiment to initiate a national witch-hunt led by rabble-rousing Republic Television news anchor Arnab Goswami among others,who forced the Goa police to file formal sexual assault and rape charges against Tejpal. In the circumstances a minor sexual harassment incident, which should have ended with Tejpal’s mea culpa, ballooned into a cause celebre.
The true villains of this latter-day tragedy are feminist warriors who instigated the young woman journalist to blow up this minor sexual encounter into a full-blown rape case. Now even as they sit pretty on the sidelines, the careers of two media professionals and the promising
investigative magazine have been ruined. Well-intentioned legislation to prevent sexual assaults against women was hijacked to make a broader protest and a test case against male chauvinism. Following Tejpal’s acquittal the Goa government has vowed an appeal against the sessions court verdict. This indignation is unwarranted. Enough damage has been done.