India journalist quits magazine over sexual assault

India journalist quits magazine over sexual assault

NEW DELHI - A young woman resigned Monday from a top Indian investigative news magazine, which is at the centre of a sex scandal after her boss allegedly assaulted her, reports said.

The woman, quoted by the Press Trust of India new agency, said she resigned from Tehelka to be "free from any kind of pressure" as its employee.

The Mumbai-based journalist publicly pleaded with the magazine's editor Sunday to halt what she called intimidation and harassment.

She said a member of his family had visited her mother in New Delhi asking to "protect" him.

Police have begun investigating editor Tarun Tejpal after the woman claimed he sexually assaulted her twice in a hotel in the holiday state of Goa during a conference organised by the magazine last month.

Tejpal applied for pre-trial bail Monday, denying the assault allegation and offering to cooperate with police. The bail plea is expected to be heard Tuesday.

Tehelka, which pioneered undercover sting operations in India, has been embroiled in the scandal since last week when it was leaked that Tejpal had offered to take six months' leave for "misconduct".

Tejpal, 50, is the founding editor of Tehelka, known for its hard-hitting investigations into sexual violence against women and gender inequality, as well as into corruption and other lawbreaking.

In an email to staff of the New Delhi-based magazine, Tejpal admitted that "a bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for".

With the media newly sensitised to sexual assault cases after a string of widely publicised gang-rape cases this year, the incident has been front-page news and the magazine has been accused of hypocrisy.

The fatal gang-rape of a student on a New Delhi bus last December sparked sometimes violent demonstrations and a long period of introspection about the treatment of women and rising crime against them.

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