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'Men United' unconvinced about Tarun Tejpal sexual assault case
Say, if he is proven innocent they will make sure that the person involved in framing him is not left scot-free
Friday December 6, 2013 7:12 PM, Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, IANS

Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal may find himself an object of ire in most quarters, even pity in some, but for a small men's collective in Goa, the journalist accused of sexual assault is a possible vindication of its raison d'etre.

The Dadleancho Ekvott (translated as Men United) was started in May to protect "innocent men and boys" who they claim are victimized by women using concocted complaints. The collective's Facebook group has over 1,200 members and has a beaming Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Vishnu Wagh displaying the group's placard which reads: "In support of innocent men and boy childs who are victimized".

Michael Fernandes, who is the face of the group, claims he has been into other spheres of social work for over 15 years and says that the Ekvott was formed so that "framed and innocent" men and boys have a door to knock on.

"We may have not solved many cases in protecting innocent men and boys due to one-sided laws but at least we make our presence felt and the victims are aware that there is a support group that cares and goes hand in hand in supporting them," Fernandes says.

Although Fernandes has never met Tejpal, he claims, he has followed the editor's travails to "suspect" something amiss.

Fernandes claims that "whether Tejpal has been framed or not, that is for the court to decide and the evidence produced in court," but the manner in which the police and the media gunned for him made him "sick to the stomach".

"If Tarun Tejpal is proven innocent we will make sure at least in the state of Goa that the person involved in framing him will not be left scot-free," Fernandes says.

The Ekvott, he claims, is already working on a case where a senior citizen has been accused of sexual assault by his nephew's wife. Although a first information report has been filed, Fernandes claims that the accusation was a strategy used by the complainant to come up trumps in a dispute over ancestral property.

Another case his group looking into involves a watchman accused of raping a six-year-old girl in an elevator of a residential colony in south Goa. The mother, Fernandes says, depended on a watchman to look after the child when she was busy.

"One day the watchman was in the elevator, child in tow, headed for the terrace to switch on a water pump when there was a power cut. Scared in the closed, stationary elevator, the child started crying, which made the mother and neighbours think that the watchman had sexually assaulted her. He is in prison now," Fernandes claims.

Tejpal has been accused of twice sexually assulting a young woman, who was then a junior colleague and who has since resigned, in an elevator of a 5-star beach resort located near Panaji. While in an email trail which surfaced in the media Tejpal has apologized to the victim, he now claims that what transpired in the elevator was consensual flirtation.

Tejpal has also been chastised in the media and political circles for character assassination of the victim, who in a statement to the police categorically insisted that her former editor-in-chief had sexually assaulted her.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at

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