After allegations of sexual misconduct, Prashant Jha steps down as Bureau ChiefJha, who is from Nepal, is just one of the influential Indian media, film and art personalities who has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct in what is being seen as India’s long overdue #MeToo movement.
Prashant Jha, the Nepali journalist who started his journalism career in Nepal and had risen through the ranks to become the Delhi Chief of Bureau and Political Editor at the Hindustan Times, has stepped down following allegations of sexual misconduct by a former employee.
Jha resigned earlier today via an email to HT Editor in Chief R Sukumar, a screenshot of which was obtained by the Post. In the email, Jha cited “specific allegations” about his “personal conduct” and said that he “would not like the organisation to suffer, in the least, because of any allegations.”
“There have been specific allegations against me—my personal conduct—recently, which have raised moral questions about my conduct,” Jha said in the email. “In this backdrop, I believe it would be best for me to step down from the position of the National Political Editor/Chief of Bureau of the Hindustan Times. I would not like the organisation to suffer, in the least, because of any allegations I face.”
Another email circulated to HT staffers by Sukumar, also obtained by the Post, confirmed that Jha had stepped down and that the bureau would now report to Sukumar.
Allegations of sexual misconduct against Jha were first reported by Rituparna Chatterjee on Firstpost, where an unnamed legal correspondent for HT said that Jha had “confessed his love for her and kept doing so even when she reminded him that he was married and she was not interested.” The woman later identified herself as Avantika Mehta on Twitter and posted screenshots of her conversation with Jha from 2017, in which Jha said he was “enormously attracted” to Mehta and continued to message her despite her attempts to dissuade him. Mehta later clarified on Twitter that none of the messages was sent by Jha while she was an employee at the paper.
Jha is just one of the influential Indian media, film and art personalities who has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct in what is being seen as India’s long overdue #MeToo movement.
Jha is a prominent Nepali journalist and author of the books, “Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal,” and “How the BJP Wins: Inside India’s Greatest Election Machine.” Jha wrote regular columns for The Kathmandu Post and Nepali Times before moving to India, where he first worked for The Hindu and The Hindustan Times.
Jha remains an HT employee, pending an official inquiry. The Post attempted to reach Jha for a comment via phone and social media but has not received a response.