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Now complaint of sexual abuse against Amar Asom editor Homen Borgohain
Saturday November 23, 2013 11:27 PM, IANS

Even as the sexual assault case against well known editor Tarun Tejpal continued to grab headlines across the national media, a woman journalist in Assam has written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) alleging sexual abuse by a veteran journalist of the state dating back a decade.

In a letter to the NHRC dated Nov 22, Sabita Lahkar, a Guwahati-based journalist, stated that after looking at the Tejpal case, she, "in utter dismay", wanted to state that she had "similar experience of abuses by a senior editor of Assam in 2003 and I had publicly demanded actions against Homen Borgohain, editor of Amar Asom, a popular Assamese daily newspaper published from GL Publications, Guwahati".

"I was then working as Chief Sub-Editor with Amar Asom and for three years I had to face repeated sexual and professional harassment from the said editor. I also organised a formal press conference in Guwahati Press Club on 10th September 2003, where I raised my demand for justice. I also had to resign from the newspaper after that," she stated in her letter.

In the letter, she stated that she had registered a case against Borgohain with the Assam State Commission for Women and another with Assam Human Rights Commission, mentioning both the case numbers.

"I also sent letters to the Press Council of India and to the Editors' Guild of India. A protest meeting was also organised in the press club auditorium on 12th September 2003 by the Journalists Action Committee and the Journalists Union of Assam (affiliated to Indian Journalists Union) in association with the Assam Tribune Employees Union, the Assam Press Correspondents Union, and the National Federation of Newspaper Employees etc," Lahkar wrote.

"I also lodged an FIR on 17th September 2003 at Paltan Bazar PS (Guwahati-781001, case number: 321/17-09-03, section 354/509 IPC)."

According to Lahkar, following her complaints, "the Assam Human Rights Commission asked the management of Amar Asom to constitute a redressal committee in its office as per the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court of India on sexual harassment at the workplace (popularly known as the Vishaka case)".

She said that the management of the Amar Asom newspaper did constitute a redressal committee and called her to record her grievances.

"However, the most amazing part was the fact that the same committee had never called the accused (Homen Borgohain)!," she stated in her letter to the NHRC.

"The police did not investigate the case properly and even they did not dare to call Homen Borgohain for interrogation."

Concluding, Lahkar stated that she had waited for justice for 10 years "and do not know how many years I have to wait for the same".

Lahkar has subsequently appeared on local television to repeat her charges against Borgohain who is a well known figure in Assamese media and literary circles and a leading public intellectual. Borgohain's reaction to the charges were not immediately available.

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