Home NATION MJ Akbar resigns from External Affairs Ministry, states to still Fight the...

MJ Akbar resigns from External Affairs Ministry, states to still Fight the Legal Battle against Priya Ramani

The minister and former journalist, Akbar, is facing multiple charges of sexual harassment from some of the female journalists working under him during the 1990s when he was a senior Editor with a newspaper.

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While many were flabbergasted with the news of Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, stepping down from his post, many chose to take a sigh a relief. The minister and former journalist, Akbar, is facing multiple charges of sexual harassment from some of the female journalists working under him during the 1990s when he was a senior Editor with a newspaper. Though he refuted from the accusations made by the journalists, he expressed that he is willing to fight a legal battle against the charges of sexual harassment. “Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity, (sic),” read his statement. He further went ahead to thank PM Narendra Modi and Union EAM (External Affairs Minister), Sushma Swaraj, for giving him the opportunity to serve at his post. “I am deeply grateful to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country,” stated Akbar in the statement.

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While denying to resign from his post, he had, on Tuesday, filed a criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, a journalist who claimed to work under Akbar during 1990s. She claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Akbar as he was designated at a very high position in the media organisation she and he worked in. She was the first to tweet against Akbar through #MeToo campaign which is at it’s peak for the explosive revelation of sexual harassment cases in India. As many as 5-7 journalists have come forward in accusing Akbar for sexually harassing then during his tenure in the newspaper. When asked his lawyer, Sandeep Kapur, he said that the defamation case against Priya Ramani is subjudice and that whatever will happen, will happen through the court. “Since we have already filed the defamation case, we will pursue it in the court,” said Kapur, quoted TOI.

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The #MeToo campaign had emerged from Hollywood last year and has reached India to make the life of accused miserable. Several cases of sexual harassment started to unearth with one against the veteran Bollywood actor, Nana Patekar, being the prominent one. The 34-year old ‘Ashiq Banaya Aapne’ actress, Tanushree Dutta, accused him for “inappropriately touching” her during the shoot of ‘Horn OK Pleasss’ in 2008. She has even filed an FIR against Patekar, movie director Vivek Agnihotri, and famous choreographer, Ganesh Acharya, under several charges of IPC.

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