Indian minister in #MeToo storm announces resignation

Governance       Union Minister MJ Akbar resigns over sexual harassment charges
       
       	        The Print Team         17 October 2018

Governance Union Minister MJ Akbar resigns over sexual harassment charges The Print Team 17 October 2018

Since then, several men in the media, entertainment, political and art worlds have been accused of offences, ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

The 41-page complaint was filed at the Patiala House District Court on his behalf by the law firm Karanjawala & Co, and argues that Ramani "willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously" defamed Akbar on "wholly and completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds".

The Aam Aadmi Party praised the women who have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and demanded criminal proceedings against him. "We would request the honourable court hearing the defamation case to also consider the testimonies of sexual harassment of some of us at the hands of the petitioner, as also of the other signatories who bore witness to this harassment", the journalists said in the joint statement undersigned by them. She said Akbar's resignation "is more in the nature of taking moral responsibility" while the case in court "will proceed on a different plane altogether". But they say their concerns were repeatedly dismissed or trivialised by colleagues and that "due process" in India has broken down.

A microphone and placards are placed on the pavement as Indian journalists attend a protest against what they say is sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India, October 13, 2018.

India's #MeToo movement is different from America's in other ways. He released a statement in this regard, which was shared on Twitter by news agency ANI. What I'm happy about is that on the surface at least, it's no longer Priya Ramani vs Union of India.

Tushita Patel, in a blog post, accused MJ Akbar of sexually harassing her, meeting her in a hotel room in his underwear and forcibly kissing her on two different occasions. "If we lose this battle, we're losing the war", said Sandhya Menon, one of the women journalists leading the movement. Admitting that she was a fan of Akbar's journalism, Ramani wrote, "It was more date, less interview". Following this, several women stepped forward levelling similar allegations against Akbar. She alleges that he went on to sing old Hindi songs to her and at one point, asked her to sit close to him.

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Patting itself on the back, Congress leader Ragini Nayak said Akbar's resignation was also a vindication of "Congress party's unequivocal stand on the #MeToo movement".

"Men who are in positions of power often do this", said Maneka Gandhi, minister for women and child development, speaking to television news channel India Today.

"Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article".

"The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice", the statement said. "The defamation case can't change that. NCW welcomes it. This is the right decision".

Ms Ramani, ready to fight the case, said on Wednesday evening, "As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar's resignation".

Pressure on Akbar mounted this week as fresh accounts of harassment emerged.

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