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Sat, 23 Mar 2019

Northeast Today

India Today’s Gaurav Sawant Denies Sexual Misconduct Allegations

India Today’s Gaurav Sawant Denies Sexual Misconduct Allegations
November 13
12:00 2018

NET Bureau

Vidya Krishnan, former health editor at The Hindu has accused Gaurav Sawant, executive editor at India Today, of allegedly molesting her in 2003 during a reporting trip in Beas.

Sawant, on 12 November, denied the allegations and called them “irresponsible, baseless, and completely false.” Thanking his family, friends and viewers, he wrote on Twitter that he “will take full legal action”.

Krishnan, in an interview with The Caravan, narrates the incident and talks about the lack of options survivors of sexual misconduct had at that time, and the lax in turning Vishakha guidelines into law.

The article highlights the skewed balance of power between a senior journalist and a reporter at the start of her career. The story also details how Krishnan was emboldened by the Harvey Weinstein incident in 2017, and had at the time messaged the author of the piece that if she ever decided to interview female journalists on sexual assault in India’s newsrooms, Krishnan would be “willing to go on the record”.

The report comes in the wake of India’s #MeToo movement, which has named noted personalities in Bollywood, Indian media, business, etc. for sexual misconduct.

n the interview, Krishnan recalls how her ‘teacher figure’, Gaurav Sawant, had sexually harassed her for the most part of the 2003 trip. She was the only female covering the defence beat as an employee of The Pioneer. While in a jeep, Krishnan alleges that Sawant placed his hand on her shoulder, which she says had made her uncomfortable – a discomfort, she says, she had made evident. Then, to Krishnan’s horror, Sawant allegedly shifted his hand to her breast. The ordeal had ended only when the group stopped for lunch, following which, he changed his place, she recalls.

It did not end there. Later that night, the report states, Krishnan received a text message from Sawant asking her to come into his room. She faintly recalls what he’d said, and that he had specified having “nothing naughty” on his mind. Krishnan alleges that Sawant had wanted to get into a bathtub with her.

Despite her negative responses, Sawant had allegedly knocked on Krishnan’s door, and within minutes, had “unzipped” his pants and tried “to force her hand towards his penis”.

“I felt like he was overpowering me, which is why I started screaming,” Krishnan says. “I think there was some sort of decency where he was like, ‘Okay, I can’t rape her’, so he went away at that point.”

 

Source: dailyhunt

 

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