#MeToo: India Today Executive Editor Gaurav Sawant accused of sexually harassing colleague

Executive Editor of news channel and magazine India Today, Gaurav Savant, in the latest MeToo movement fallout, has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting journalist Vidya Krishnan while on a work trip to Beas in 2003, via a published story in the November edition of The Caravan.

The report says that while Krishnan was a young journalist who had been hired by The Pioneer, she was given her first assignment to cover a peacetime drill in a military station at Beas. She was accompanied by senior journalists, one of them being Sawant.

Sawant was considered a role model by several juniors due to his encouraging attitude.

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The report allegedly recounted that Sawant placed his right hand on Krishnan, which she found very uncomfortable. She initially let it pass as an accident, trying to move away and readjusting her position as she thought she had misconstrued the situation.

However, when Sawant shifted his hand from her shoulder to her breast, she said she got shocked. “My body was frozen still, I didn’t have the confidence to say anything,” she said in the report.

The same night, Krishnan said that he contacted her via text message asking her to come to his room. In the text message, he emphasized that he had ‘nothing naughty’ in mind and just wanted to get into a bathtub with her.

Krishnan said she politely declined the offer, but was however, visited by Sawant. She said that when she opened the door, he let himself in.

She said that she kept fearing she might have to end up doing what he wanted and that she had lost her confidence of taking a stand and saying no.

She recalls how after a few minutes of entering her room and talking with her, Sawant unzipped his pants and forced her hand towards his penis. He did not back off despite Krishnan making her uneasiness apparent to him, the report said.

“I felt like he was overpowering me, which is why in my panic I started screaming …I think there was some sense of decency where he was like, ‘Okay, I can’t rape her’, so he went away at that point,” she added, as per the report.

Krishnan ends her story by clarifying that her calling out Sawant for what he did to her is entirely about her being at peace with herself and did not have any other motive.

Sawant is yet to respond to The Caravan’s emails seeking his responses to the allegations. There is no comment either on his twitter handle yet.

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