The Times of India sent its Hyderabad Resident Editor KR Sreenivas, who was accused by a woman journalist of sexual harassment, on “administrative leave” on Monday, The News Minute reported. The English daily purportedly informed its employees of the development after seven women accused Sreenivas of sexual misconduct and petitioned the newspaper’s management to take action against him.
Gautam Adhikari, former executive editor at Times of India and former editor-in-chief of DNA in Mumbai, has quit his post as senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC, The Wire reported. Adhikari’s profile page has been removed from the think tank’s website.
Since October 5, several women have made allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against various journalists, media professionals and writers on social media.
The petition against Sreenivas alleged that he had used innuendo-laced messages and isolated women at the office when they complained about his behaviour. The document contained screenshots and testimonies from each petitioner who described their alleged encounters with him.
Sreenivas had earlier said the company had constituted a committee to look into the allegations against him.
In its email, the management wrote to the employees, according to The News Minute: “TOI is committed to providing all colleagues with a safe and conducive work environment, free of sexual harassment. In keeping with this commitment, the internal complaints committee of BCCL [Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd] is looking into concerns that have been brought to our notice about KR Sreenivas. To ensure a fair and impartial inquiry, he has been asked to proceed on administrative leave pending closure of the inquiry. Please be assured that the committee is completely independent in its functioning.”
On Monday, journalist Prashant Jha had stepped down as the chief of bureau and political editor of the Hindustan Times following an allegation of sexual misconduct against him.
Allegations against Adhikari
“I do not recall any of these incidents which are being alleged from so many years ago,” he told The Wire. “As I said, I would sincerely apologise to anyone if I had made that person uncomfortable in my presence but there was no question of sexual harassment on my part. I left my honorary non-resident position from the Center for American Progress because my reputation has been severely damaged and I didn’t want to involve the organisation in any embarrassment. I am otherwise retired and not attached to any institution.”
On October 9, another media professional alleged that Adhikari had forcibly kissed her 12 years ago when she met him for an interview.
In view of the statements of women who have made public their experiences of Mayank Jain’s misconduct, we at Scroll in the spirit of fair disclosure would like to state that Mayank Jain worked for Scroll from October 15, 2014 to October 30, 2016, and then from June 12, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
A woman employee informally and verbally brought to the attention of a member of the internal complaints committee (ICC) at Scroll an instance of sexually inappropriate online behaviour by Mayank Jain in 2017. The employee, however, did not want to pursue the matter through a formal written complaint, without which no formal inquiry can be initiated. Despite this, the ICC took serious note of the matter and served a written warning to Mayank Jain, reminding him of Scroll’s strict policies prohibiting sexual harassment.
We, at Scroll, commit to continuing to better understand women’s experiences at the workplace and evolve further processes that may be required to prevent, acknowledge and respond to work cultures that are not enabling for women.