A group of Bharatiya Janata Party workers jostled former Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury on Thursday and even defaced the nameplate outside her Saket residence, the act inviting sharp criticism from various quarters, including from the party's leadership.
Led by Delhi BJP leader Vijay Jolly, the protesters not only painted the word 'accused' on Chaudhury's nameplate, some of them also went on to surround and jostle the journalist as she was leaving her house. And, when police personnel tried to escort Chaudhury to her car, the animated BJP leader even tried to climb on to the vehicle.
A first information report has been filed against him.
The incident received wide condemnation and BJP distanced itself from the protesters with senior party leader Sushma Swaraj saying their act was "not civilised".
Swaraj, and former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, said the protest was carried out by the workers in their personal capacity and the party had nothing to do with it.
Necessary action would be taken against those involved in the protest, they added. BJP will seek an explanation from Jolly on the issue and take necessary action, both averred.
"(BJP) has nothing to do with the incident. I can never endorse it and agree with it... It is not in line with the party's ideology and, at the same time, it is not civilised. We can register our protest in a civilised manner, but it was not done in a civilised manner and I condemn it," said Swaraj.
During the protest, the BJP workers demanded that Chaudhury be immediately arrested for allegedly trying to cover up the sexual harassment complaint filed against Tehelkaeditor Tarun Tejpal by a junior colleague.
Speaking during the protest, Jolly said, "My head hangs in shame. She (Chaudhury) did not stand in support of her colleague and, for the past one week, has been trying to suppress the complaint and the facts in the case.
"It was at least expected that she would report the matter immediately to police. She should have also asked Tejpal to submit himself to the law... None of that happened," Jolly added.
Chaudhury resigned early on Thursday morning from Tehelka. There is speculation that she, too, may be named in the FIR for certain acts of commission and omission after the alleged offence became public.