Ex-DNA, TOI editor Gautam Adhikari resigns as senior fellow at Center for American Progress amid sexual assault charges on social media

Editor's note: Following Rituparna Chatterjee's report — Is India’s #MeToo moment here? Women are angry and they are naming and shaming their abusers — Firstpost will publish a series of articles collating personal accounts of those who have made allegations of harassment, along with responses from those who have been accused of such behaviour. This is an ongoing exercise and will be updated to reflect new developments. If you wish to draw our attention to instances of harassment you may have experienced or witnessed, tweet to us @firstpost with the hashtag #MeToo.

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Accused of sexual misconduct by several women, senior journalist Gautam Adhikari has resigned from his position as senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC. Recent wave of ugly revelations claimed that Adhikari had forced himself on several women from across the media industry. These revelations were made on social media sites as part of the #MeToo In India campaigns.

The center had removed his web page, however, they have not yet responded to the requests for an official comment by Firstpost. Adhikari was named by journalist and writer Tara Kaushal in her blog, where she shared her experience from 2006.

File Image of Gautam Adhikari. Image courtesy: Center for American Progress

File Image of Gautam Adhikari. Image courtesy: Center for American Progress

"As he closed the door behind me, he pushed me against the door and kissed me. On the lips. Tongue et al. His lips were as soft and plump and gross as the rest of his body that he ground against mine…," wrote Kaushal. The ordeal was the description of her second meeting with Adhikari ever, and a job interview at his DNA office. Adhikari was the editor-in-chief of the Mumbai edition newspaper at the time

However, Kaushal isn't the first to call out Adhikari for sexual assault. Another journalist Sandhya Menon detailed the harassment she allegedly faced at the hands of Adhikari and a senior editor from The Times of India KR Sreenivas.

Adhikari, who was editor in chief of the Mumbai edition of DNA at the time of the incident, allegedly forcibly kissed Menon (after an informal evening outing) and warned her against telling anyone about the incident.

A third allegation surfaced against Adhikari on Saturday (6 October). Writer and professor of journalism Sonora Jha tweeted, accusing Adhikari of sexual assault. In a series of tweets, Jha recounted an incident of alleged assault that took place in 1995, in a hotel room. At the time, she was chief of metro bureau at The Times Of India — Bengaluru, and Adhikari was the executive editor.

Jha alleged that Adhikari called her to his hotel room to discuss flexible working hours and then forcibly kissed her. "He tried to push me into his hotel bed but I pushed him away and managed to run out the door. Later, when I told my resident editor, I was told that Adhikari had asked him to 'sideline' me on the job. The Times Of India asked him to leave but I believe they brought him back," she tweeted.

In a statement given to Firstpost earlier, Adhikari said that he had no recollection of the events mentioned above, and claimed that he has stopped "greeting" women with a kiss and a hug as he realised he may be "misunderstood." Adhikari told Firstpost that he did not "recall this incident or the person at all".

"I last visited Bangalore [sic] when I was in India more than two decades ago in the mid-1990s. I do not recall meeting this person. I respectfully deny this allegation," he said. "I also would like to clarify that in the distant past I may have greeted women occasionally with a hug or a kiss. But I realised soon enough that it could be misunderstood in different cultural conditions and stopped the habit. There was never any question of harassment on my part," he added in reference to the allegations made by Jha.


Updated Date: Oct 09, 2018 12:50 PM

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