#Metoo In India

Hit by #MeToo, MJ Akbar Quits As Minister To ‘Challenge False Accusations’

Parul Chandra New Delhi 16 November 2018

Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar put in his papers on Wednesday after the charges of sexual harassment against him continued despite his decision to drag one of his accusers to court.

The minister’s statement announcing his resignation was terse unlike the long-winded defence he had initially given after being accused of inappropriate behaviour by several women journalists. Their charges came as part of the #MeToo campaign in the country.

He said: “Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it fit to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity.” He also said he was grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj “for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country”.

While the minister had initially dug in his heels and did not deem it fit to resign after he moved court on Monday to sue journalist Priya Ramani for defamation, his continuation as minister seemed embarrassing for the government after more women journalists came out with charges of inappropriate behaviour against him.

These charges included a joint statement by 17 women journalists who worked with Akbar at various points of time in his career. The joint statement expressed support for Ramani and urged the court to hear their testimonies too.

The minister’s decision to sue Ramani—the first to call him out for alleged sexual harassment—for defamation did little to daunt others from complaining against him. Indeed, Akbar’s move to go to court with a battery of lawyers from an expensive law firm was seen as an attempt to use money power to browbeat and intimidate Ramani and others into submission.

Responding to Akbar’s decision to resign, Ramani tweeted: “As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Video
India-Australia Ties

Education, Tourism Drivers Of India-Australia Ties, Says Oz Envoy

Ahead of the second India-Australia 2+2 dialogue, the Australian envoy to India says relationship between the two countries h...

Nitin A. Gokhale8 October 2018