#MeToo: India Today's Gaurav Sawant accused of sexual harassment

Shalini Ojha

#MeToo: India Today

12 Nov 2018: #MeToo: India Today's Gaurav Sawant accused of sexual harassment

In the #MeToo movement, whose presence in Indian demographic gave voices to victims of harassment, India Today's star reporter Gaurav Sawant has been accused of sexual misconduct.

Sawant, who hosts India First at the channel assaulted a woman, who had just begun her journalistic career and was 20 at that time.

The latest issue of Caravan magazine has brought this case to fore.

The beginning: Krishnan decided to pursue journalism, despite parents' disapproval

The victim is Vidya Krishnan, who pursued journalism despite her parent's disapproval. When she was studying at Amity University, she was impressed by Sawant, who came for guest lectures.

After her college, Krishnan was hired in 2003 by The Pioneer. Her first assignment was to cover a peacetime drill in a military station at Beas.

The group included Sawant and other senior journalists.

The abuse: Sawant put his hand on her shoulder then breast

What Krishnan thought would become a career breakthrough, turned into a horror as Sawant assaulted her for the most part of the journey.

He placed his hand on her shoulder, and she brushed it aside thinking it was an accident.

But later Sawant shifted his hand from her shoulder to breast. "My body was frozen still," Krishnan told Caravan.

Details: Later that day, Sawant came to her room

When Krishnan went to the room to concentrate on the assignment, she got a text from Sawant.

He insisted that she come to her room and that he didn't have anything naughty on his mind. He just wanted to get into the bathtub with her.

While Krishnan was taken aback with this, she heard a knock on door. When she opened, Sawant stood there.

The harassment: Inside room, Sawant unzipped his pants, forced Krishnan

After forcing himself in her room, Sawant started talking to Krishnan. But soon he unzipped his pants and was forcing her to touch his penis.

"He had not backed off ... I had made it very visible to him that this was an unwelcome advance," she said.

At that moment, she started screaming and eventually he left, Krishnan recalled.

Fact: Maybe he thought he couldn't 'rape' her, Krishnan said

"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," Krishnan said.

The aftermath: While Krishnan was traumatized, Sawant acted like nothing happened

Krishnan said she called her boyfriend to confide in him. He advised her to stay away of trouble.

After much thought, the couple decided it would be best to stay silent as the young journalist could risk being labeled a troublemaker, and might not be sent to assignments.

Meanwhile, on the next day, during the assignment, Sawant acted as nothing happened, Krishnan revealed.