India Today executive editor Gaurav Sawant Wednesday sent defamation notices to Vidya Krishnan, The Caravan magazine, and its journalist Nikita Saxena over allegations of sexual harassment.
Sawant, confirming the development on social media, tweeted:
I have sent a defamation notice to Caravan, Ms Nikita Saxena and Ms Vidya Krishnan through my lawyers. Will seek justice.
— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) November 14, 2018
Krishnan accused Sawant of sexually harassing her in 2003 when she joined The Pioneer as a trainee journalist in an article published by The Caravan on 1 November authored by Saxena. The incident purportedly occurred when Krishnan was assigned to cover a drill in a military station at Beas in Punjab. Mocking the legal notice, executive editor of The Caravan Vinod Jose tweeted and said, "Reads more like a procedural step than anything. The Caravan is happy to fight the case."
Gaurav Sawant sends the Caravan a notice. Reads more like a procedural step than anything. The Caravan is happy to fight the case. Read the full @VidyaKrishnan account as reported by @nikita1712 here, and subscribe and support @thecaravanindia magazine🙂: https://t.co/nMs0b72qiQ pic.twitter.com/XQjq4T7EPe
— Vinod K. Jose (@vinodjose) November 14, 2018
Sawant earlier rejected the charges and said he'd "take full legal action":
The article published by Caravan is irresponsible, baseless, and completely false. I am talking to my lawyers and will take full legal action. So grateful to my family, friends, and viewers for their support. — GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) November 12, 2018
Following the allegation, former Hindustan Times weekend editor Kanika Gahlaut also tweeted about an alleged incident when Sawant "lunged" at her during a conclave.
If it helps I can testify Gaurav Sawant is a pest.I look for discreet places to smoke.Found him behind some hedges at group conclave.He lunged.I gave it off to him.He: "cmon when was last time you got any".His justification for lunging-i'm single. That's how sick his mind is. — Kanika Gahlaut (@kanikagahlaut) November 13, 2018
Kanika further said she lost no sleep over the incident as she never considered Sawant to have any power over her.
The allegations against Sawant come in the midst a resurgence of the #MeToo movement in India. Here's a complete list of the allegations that Firstpost has followed up on.
Meanwhile, Vidya Krishnan responded to the notice sent by Sawant, in a statement shared with media houses, the Indian Women's Press Corps, Network of Women in Media, India (NWMi), Press Council of India, Editors guild of India and the Press Club of India.
Her statement read:
"I shared my story to shine a light on the inequities faced by young female journalists in Indian newsrooms, at the hands of their powerful colleagues. My hope in providing this account is that another generation of talented female reporters should not have to dramatically alter their careers due to every day sexism, sexual harassment and outright sexual violence faced in the newsroom.
Since last week, while I relive this trauma in front of the entire world, I have been accused of acting out of malice. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
The account published in the Caravan is an accurate representation of what happened. It was independently verified by a reporter, after talking to those who corroborated the story I had shared. It is the reality and I stand by every word of it.
It is my hope that women, who enjoy the same rights as men as guaranteed by our Constitution, are treated equally and fairly, so we can go on reach our full potential without having to negotiate sexual violence and abuse at every turn.
I am not the least bit intimidated by the threat of defamation — which appears to be the only remedy that powerful men, accused of inappropriate behaviour, take recourse to. I will fight defamation and I will make sure my truth is heard by all."
Network 18, of which Firstpost is a part, has received complaints of sexual harassment as well. The complaints which are within the purview of the workplace have been forwarded to our PoSH committee for appropriate action.
Updated Date: Nov 15, 2018 12:30 PM