Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury quit from Tehelka
Under fire from various quarters, including the media fraternity, for the way she handled a junior colleague’s sexual harassment charge against founder-editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, managing editor Shoma Chaudhury decided to resign from the post early Thursday morning.
She announced her decision to sign out from the weekly magazine through an email to her colleagues sent at 5:52 a.m. Though no statement has been put out by Tehelka on its website regarding the resignation, her email was widely in circulation on various social networking sites within hours.
Conceding that she could have done several things differently and in a more measured way, Ms. Chaudhury rejected the allegations of a “cover-up’’ and not standing up to the “feminist positions’’ she has taken otherwise on such issues. “No way could the first actions that were taken [by me] be deemed [as] suppression of any kind. As for my feminist positions, I believe I acted in consonance with them by giving my colleague’s account precedence over everything else.’’
According to Ms. Chaudhury, since the “devastating allegation’’ was first brought to her notice on November 18, she had taken a series of actions in response to this complaint. “To my mind, I acted on instant outrage and solidarity for our colleague as a woman and co-worker.’’
Detailing her response, Ms. Chaudhury said after the first steps to immediately address the complainant’s “expressed needs, the procedures of setting up the anti-sexual harassment committee was begun. There were only two days to act on the complaint before the story broke in the press. Post this, things have been misconstrued and have snowballed exponentially in the media, based on half-facts and selective leaks.’’
Ms. Chaudhury goes on to underscore that despite the efforts taken in solidarity with the complainant, “my integrity has repeatedly been questioned by people from our fraternity’’ and, in fact, by the public at large. “I do not want questions raised about my integrity to tarnish the image of Tehelka, which it has done in the past week.’’
Stating that it was not her nature to “give up midway through a challenge’’, Ms. Chaudhury said she would have liked to continue at Tehelka to see it through “this dark time, but I am no longer sure whether my presence is harming or helping’’ the magazine.