Panaji: "Now you are in Goa, drink as much as you want, eat...sleep with whoever you think of, but get ready to arrive early at the event as we have a packed house."
This remark made in 2011 by Tarun Tejpal during the inaugural edition of the ThinkFest, the investigative weekly`s flagship conference in Goa, could have now come to haunt the Tehelka editor-in-chief, according to Goa`s chatteratti.
Tejpal has been accused of sexually attacking a junior colleague twice in an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, a five-star resort a short distance from Panaji city. And Goan politicians, celebrities, activists and even Roman Catholic priests are suggesting "bad karma" for it.
"Tarun, Goa remembers you!" said an angry Fr. Bismarck Dias, who in 2011 calibrated a public protest after Tejpal`s comments on Goa.
Vishwajeet Rane, a Congress legislator, said he was shocked to read about Tejpal`s "misconduct" with a fellow employee.
"More so of the attitude he had displayed when in Goa saying `You`re in Goa, so eat, drink, make merry and sleep with whoever you want`. We can`t sit quiet and allow Goa`s image to be tarnished as a place where everything is okay," Rane wrote on his Facebook wall.
Ace fashion designer Wendell Rodricks, who is known to passionately argue for local causes, was even more acerbic.
"So, Tarun Tejpal at ThinkFest did what he said in Goa for the first ThinkFest `Sleep with whoever you want. This is Goa`. So the fondling and disrobing began," Rodricks said.
"And how come one can become police, judge and lawmaker through self-proclaimed `atonement`," he asked on his Wall.
A group of activists who staged a `StinkFest` protest outside the ThinkFest venue this year, accusing the organisers of using funding from dubious corporates for the high-profile event, in a statement issued here said: "The shocking news regarding Tejpal`s excesses and his decision to let himself off with a 6-month sabbatical says it all."