20 women come forward against M J Akbar, say ‘ready to testify in court’
M J Akbar, Minister of State For External Affairs, has resigned from his post in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment made by several women against him. MJ Akbar said in a statement that he would “seek justice in a court of law” in a “personal capacity”.
Akbar said, ” 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.”
As many as 20 women have accused M J Akbar of sexually harassing them when he worked as a journalist. Akbar has filed a defamation case against a senior journalist, who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Two days after minister of state for external affairs M. J. Akbar described the allegations of sexual harassment against him as lies and launched a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, 19 former and current employees of The Asian Age on Tuesday have come out in support of Ramani.
These journalists have urged Delhi’s Patiala house court, where Akbar has filed his defamation case to “consider some of their testimonies about their experiences at his hands.”
By speaking up, Ramani had “lifted the lid on the culture of casual misogyny, entitlement and sexual predation” that Akbar engendered and presided over at the Asian Age, the statement said.
MJ Akbar has said he will not quit as Union Minister of State for External Affairs after being accused by several women journalists of sex harassment.
In an article in the Scroll.in, Tushita Patel, who was part of the team that started the Asian Age – Akbar was editor of the newspaper for 15 years – has expressed surprise at his “complete lack of contrition and attempt to victim shame”.
She has accused the former editor of kissing her forcibly, twice, and greeting her one time in his hotel room in his underwear.