Furious journos protest for speedy action against Rupesh Samant

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 06 October 2015 17:16 IST

Mere one hour Dharna by Goa Union of Journalists today displayed the anger brewing against senior journalist Rupesh Samant, who is presently facing four complaints of sexual harassment of women journalists.

The impact was such that another senior journalist Audumbar Shinde, who was otherwise supporting Samant, came out openly to state that he was convinced that the cases are genuine and he is not supporting his ill-deeds.

The journalists in one voice demanded speedy action against Samant, against whom four complaints of sexual harassment have been filed till date. He is still not traceable for the police to interrogate.

Meanwhile, the case of Samant’s anticipatory bail was today once again adjourned till 9 October since judge Vijaya Poll is on sick leave. It was filed on 28 September.

The Dharna was also largely attended by women journalists in the media, besides journalists from Panaji and other towns.

Cases are genuine: Shinde

Shinde, who joined the Dharna at Azad Maidan in the city, clarified that he has stood by Samant’s family who is in distress and not with his schoolmate Samant.

“None of you know Rupesh better than me. I know him since Std VII”, he said, but did not elaborate.

Stating that his family had stood by him when he was in trouble, Shinde said it’s his duty to support his family, including his parents, wife and a teenager son when they are in trouble.

What his family is suffering is not our mistake but own deeds of Rupesh, he added.

“Rupesh created an impression that these cases are concocted by a committee constituted by GUJ in order to defame him. But the complainants did not go to the GUJ committee. They went to the police station. I have realised these cases are genuine”, he said.

Shinde also recalled how some journalists had resolved a worst situation than this once to save Samant’s family life.

Let the police investigate the matter and let him have a fair trial. Till then I will continue supporting his family but not him, said Shinde.

Worse than existing cases: Kamat

Prakash Kamat, a veteran journalist and former GUJ president, said there are worst cases than what have been reported at the police station. Unfortunately, the victims of Samant’s lust are not in a position to come forward and file complaints.

“Some of the victims, whom he assured to get married and ditched, are today suffering with depression”, said Kamat.

 

Those victims who have come forward are ‘unsung heroines’ and we should support them by protecting their identity, he said.

He also appealed to all the journalists to stand against the sexual exploitation of any kind in their organisation and provide moral strength to the women journalists in their respective organisations.

Not against one Samant: Patil

Sadguru Patil, president of GUJ, said in his welcome address that the Dharna is organised not merely against one Rupesh Samant but all such shady characters in the media, who try to take advantage of junior women employees to satisfy their sexual lust.

He also said the GUJ has suspended Samant from the union within the framework of its constitution and would take all possible legal steps to stop such sexual harassment in any media organisation by any person working in the media at any position.

Time to clean up our own house: Verenkar

Sanjeev Verenkar, another senior journalist, observed that the prime responsibility of the journalists is to clean up its own house first when we bring out such muck in the rest of the society.

He also appealed to the journalistic fraternity to look at this incident as an opportunity to clear the impression about the media in the minds of the public regarding all such misdeeds the handful of journalists are involved in.

The Dharna was also supported by organisations and individual activists like Valmiky Naik of AAP, Aires Rodrigues, Soter D’Souza and others. 

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