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The Statesman Management's reply to the Bengal Network

February 25, 2003

Dear Ms Chatterjee/Ms Dasgupta

I respond to your letter of 18th February 2003, addressed to the editor-in-chief and have the following to state:

a) I am aware of all the facts surrounding the termination of Ms Rina Mukherji's services from The Statesman and can state with authority that there is no truth whatsoever to her allegations of sexual harassment at the hands of Mr Ishan Joshi, News Coordinator, or anyone else.

b) Ms Mukherji's services were not terminated by Mr Joshi, but by me. She was a probationary journalist and I was not satisfied with her work. The termination was entirely consistent with the terms of Ms Mukherji's appointment.

c) I am not sure if you are aware of Ms Mukherji's correspondence with The Statesman. For your edification, I enclose a copy of her letter to us, and of my reply to her. These are self-explanatory.

d) I am aware that a journalist of some experience, as Ms Mukherji is, may feel distraught at being asked to leave an organisation, and that this may result in psychological stress. To suggest, however, that the reasons for this stress lie in alleged sexual harassment is dishonest, as well as being defamatory to both the organization and the individual in question.

e) There is nothing in what you say or suggest, or indeed in what Ms Mukherji had to say to us in her letter of 30th January, to support the view that the presence of a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee would have emboldened her to speak up about the alleged sexual harassment sooner that the 3 months and 18 days she actually took to do so. Ms Mukherji's allegation is clearly an afterthought.

f) I do not propose to enter into a discussion with you on a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee. I do not recognize your authority to address me on this subject.

Yours faithfully,

Ravindra Kumar
Editor and Managing Director
The Statesman Ltd.

More on Rina's case at: Bengal Network: Rina Mukherji's case against The Statesman

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