New Delhi : Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy on Monday slammed Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman journalist. In her blog, Roy called the incident ‘rape number two’.
She said, “This is Rape Number Two: the rape of the values and the politics that Tehelka claims it stands for, and an affront to those who work there and who have supported it in the past. It is the hollowing out of the last vestiges of integrity, political as well as personal.”
In her blog in Outlook, she said, “The evidence against Tarun suggests that he has grievously sexually assaulted a young colleague of his during the ‘Think Fest’, an ‘intellectual’ carnival run by him in Goa. The Think Fest was sponsored by a consortium of Mining Corporations, some who are themselves accused of misdeeds on a gargantuan scale. Ironically, in other parts of the country the sponsors of Think Fest have contributed to creating a climate in which scores of adivasi women have been raped and murdered, and thousands of people have been imprisoned as well as killed. Several lawyers have said that according to the new law, the nature of Tarun’s sexual assault amounts to rape. Tarun himself has admitted to his crime in his own emails and text messages, sent to the woman he assaulted. From his position of uncontested power as her boss, he then loftily apologized to her, and then in an act that can only be described as delusionary, announced his own punishment — six months of leave in order to “lacerate” himself. Now that it has become a police matter, on the advice of fat cat lawyers whose services only the very rich can afford, Tarun begun to do what many men accused of rape do — vilify the woman he preyed on and call her a liar. Outrageously, it is being suggested that Tarun is being ‘framed’ for political reasons — presumably by the Right-wing Hindutva brigade. So now a young woman who he very recently saw fit to employ is not just a loose woman, but an agent of the fascists? This is Rape Number Two: the rape of the values and the politics that Tehelka claims it stands for, and an affront to those who work there and who have supported it in the past.”