C Gouridasan Nair, resident editor of The Hindu’s Kerala bureau, is going on leave, until he retires on December 31, 2018.
He has made a post on Facebook about it, days after a blog post was made by Delhi-based journalist Yamini Nair, in connection with the Me Too movement. Though Yamini had written in detail about the sexual harassment she faced, she did not name anyone. But a comment left on the blog spot by another woman identified the person accused as Gouridasan Nair and that woman also alleged that she had been sexually harassed by him.
N Ram, Chairman, The Hindu Publishing Group told TNM that The Hindu had asked Gauridasan Nair for an explanation, but he said he wanted to go on leave instead.
“The issue was under consideration and we had asked him for an explanation, when Gouridasan Nair himself, who was due to retire on December 31, 2018, wrote to say he did not want to avail of the one-year extension that had been orally offered earlier. He wanted to go on leave prior to his retirement.”
N Ram added that the newspaper had sought an explanation despite no one naming Gouridasan Nair.
“We saw this complaint by Yamini Nair. It did not name anyone but people were talking about it and somebody in the comment section named Gouridasan Nair. We took cognizance of that. Then we noticed that she was very upset when pgurus.com named him. She said ‘how dare you name somebody that I have not’. We took cognizance of that too. Then she communicated informally that she was willing to name the person to the Internal Complaints Committee of the organization where he worked. We looked into it. It was clear that the ICC could not have taken cognizance of it. We had studied the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Earlier, we had communicated with, and got the practical guidance from my friend, retired Justice K. Chandru, for working out a regulatory scheme under the Act for the Asian College of Journalism. Justice Chandru is an authority on the subject. Section 9 of the Act says the written complaint should be within a period of three months from the date of the last incident. And the ICC can extend the time limit by another three months. The incident mentioned by Yamini Nair was more than 10 years ago. But still we took it very seriously. However, it was wrongly stated in a tweet by someone that Yamini Nair was an employee of The Hindu at the time. She was not. Gouridasan, of course, was very much our employee.”
Ram also talks about the action that the company had taken. “The issue was under consideration —and we had asked him for a response — when Gouridasan Nair himself, who was due to retire on December 31, 2018, communicated to the Editor that he did not wish to avail of the one-year extension that had been informally, that is, orally, offered earlier. He wanted to go on leave prior to retirement and that’s what we decided he would do.”
Sources says Gouridasan Nair has told his friends that he was going on leave and this would be the end of his innings as a professional journalist. However from N Ram's interview, it is clear that he preferred to go on leave when asked for an explanation.