Prominent Malayalam newspaper, Kerala Kaunmudi, has terminated its employee, journalist M Radhakrishnan, for harassing a woman colleague. The accused worked as a proofreader with the newspaper and is a secretary of the influential Thiruvananthapuram Press Club.
The newspaper terminated him after conducting an inquiry at their level, concluding that there was no justification for the accused's acts. They did not find any reasons to take a lenient view of the issue.
"The acts committed by you are very serious and grave. The disciplinary authority does not find any reasons to take a lenient view in a remote chance that the entire issue happened outside the company's premises since the issue is having a direct impact on the morale and discipline of the company," The Indian Express quoted the official statement.
On November 30, 2019, Radhakrishnan and a few men barged into the woman colleague house at night, assaulted her intending to outrage her modesty and vandalised the place.
Radhakrishnan also alleged the woman of having relations with another employee of the company and enforced moral policing on her. The group also dragged the woman's male friend, who was present in the house and assaulted him. Her children were present at the time of the incident.
Later, she had sent an email to the company and the Press Club, describing her ordeal.
According to the mail, her family had cordial relations with Radhakrishnan and lived in the same colony. His behaviour changed during the time of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) elections in October 2019. Radhakrishnan had approached her to stop one of their colleagues from contesting the elections and standing against him and the panel he supported. However, she refused to indulge in and had put out a comment regarding elections in the official WhatsApp group.
The comment was not taken well by Radhakrishnan, and he called her, saying if his panel failed in the elections, she was to be blamed. After the incident, the accused harassed her multiple times, which went on for more than a year, her mail read. The journalist had received support from the Press Club President at the time.
Following the scuffle in November, Radhakrishnan was arrested from the office and charged under sections 143, 147, 451, 323, 342,354 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code. The journalists' body, KUWJ, also suspended him. The complaint was lodged at the Pettah Police Station.
The Tvm Press Club Secretary just got arrested. This happened only because a bunch of women journalists from @NWM_India stood together. He barged into the house of our colleague, moral policed and assualted her. If you touch one of us, we wil retaliate. No longer your fiefdom pic.twitter.com/x5Vm9RbnYB— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) December 5, 2019
Later, he was granted bail after a month and retained the position of a secretary in the Press Club. The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) had questioned the club's morality of retaining a man accused of assaulting a woman.