New Delhi: Senior leaders of the BJP joined the chorus of outrage against its Delhi leader, Vijay Jolly, who stalked journalist Shoma Chaudhury and defaced her home today.
"I condemn this," said senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, vowing that the party will punish Mr Jolly. (BJP leader Vijay Jolly vs Twitter today)
Ms Chaudhury resigned this morning as Managing Editor of Tehelka after being accused of trying to cover up a complaint of sexual assault against the news magazine's founder, Tarun Tejpal.
Surrounded by party workers, Mr Jolly squirted paint outside Ms Chaudhury's gate and graffiti-ed the word "Accused" onto her name plate.
The mob then tried to block Ms Chaudhury's car from leaving the house.
"She has been trying to suppress the complaint and facts in the case," shouted Mr Jolly.
The Delhi Police has filed an FIR against Mr Jolly for vandalising Ms Chaudhury's home after a complaint by the National Commission for Women. (Ex-Tehelka editor Shoma Chaudhury meets National Commission for Women)
Legal experts and the National Commission for Women have said Ms Chaudhury broke the law by failing to alert the police when a young reporter said that Mr Tejpal had sexually assaulted her in Goa earlier this month. He has since been accused of rape by the state police. (Read the full text of Shoma Chaudhury's mail to employees here)
The controversy has also turned into a battleground between the Congress and the BJP, even as women's rights activists warn that the political combat detracts from important issues India must address like sexual harassment and violence against women.
The BJP's Arun Jaitley acknowledged today to NDTV that he may be "partly responsible" for the politicisation of the case by suggesting last week that Mr Tejpal is being protected by the Congress. But he added, "This issue is not Tarun Tejpal vs the BJP. This is about justice for the young lady and a criminal trial."
Senior Congress leaders like Jayanthi Natarajan have alleged that the Goa government's "alacrity" in the case against Mr Tejpal is payback for earlier Tehelka exposes against senior BJP leaders.