New Delhi : Tehelka publisher Urvashi Butalia has refused to head the magazine’s internal complaints committee set up to probe sexual assault allegations against its editor Tarun Tejpal, saying it was now not needed as the case was being investigated by police. She was appointed by Tehelka to head its internal probe panel.
In a letter to Tehelka’s Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury, Butalia, Director of Zubaan Books publishing house, said she was recusing herself from heading the committee set up under the Vishakha guidelines.
In a tweet, Zubaan Books said, “Zubaan would like to clarify that our director Urvashi Butalia is not on the committee Tehelka was planning to set up in line with the Vishakha guidelines, nor on any other committee related to the Tejpal case. On Friday the 22nd of November, Urvashi wrote to @ShomaChaudhury, saying any such committee that was planned was redundant now that due process under the law had begun.”
Tehalka said on a social networking site, “Since last Thursday, Tehelka has requested several people to be a part of the Sexual Harassment Enquiry Committee in Tehelka, including eminent people like Urvashi Butalia, Inakshi Ganguly, Sharmila Tagore, Justice Leela Seth, Prem Shankar Jha, Uma Chakravarti, Vrinda Grover and several others.
Meanwhile, Tehelka issued a statement saying it is trying to persuade lawyers and activists to stay on a panel to investigate charges of sexual assault against editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal. “There is a strong sense among lawyers and activists that a sexual harassment inquiry committee would not have any legal standing given a criminal inquiry by Goa Police was started Thursday and a criminal case was filed,” the news weekly said. “Hence, many of the people Tehelka approached wish to recuse themselves from the committee”, it added.