Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

As women we feel vindicated: Priya Ramani after MJ Akbar resigns

As women we feel vindicated: Priya Ramani after MJ Akbar resigns

A junior government minister resigned on Wednesday after he faced sexual harassment accusations from more than a dozen women. The minister was earlier defiant and ignored demands seeking his resignation.

Mr Akbar had earlier filed a criminal defamation case against the female journalist who first named him.

At least 15 women journalists have openly come out with harassment allegations against Akbar.

In a statement, Akbar said, "Since I have chose 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". It read, "As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbars resignation". Moments after his resignation, Priya Ramani took to her Twitter handle and wrote that as women, MJ Akbar's resignation has cleared the suspicion from them.

"The "radio silence" of Mr Modi has deceived those crores of women voters who had placed their faith in the BJP in 2014", she said and added that people of India are feeling woefully let down by his inactions, muteness and indecisiveness on such issues.

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In a brief statement, Akbar said he had chose to seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity. It was followed by the accounts of travails undergone by other women journalists, including Ghazala Wahab who accused him of molestation.

Meanwhile, the Editors Guild of India asked Akbar to "display grace" and withdraw the defamation case. "Too many women had come forward, there was a floodgate of allegations".

"Eventually the truth prevails", Ghazala Wahab, another journalist who accused Akbar of making physical advances in office, told CNN NEWS 18. "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.

"The scandalous allegations levelled by the accused, by the very tone and tenor are ex-facie defamatory and have not only damaged the goodwill and reputation of the complainant in his social circles and on the political stage but affected his personal reputation in the community, friends, family". India's #MeToo movement, which started with Tanushree Dutta alleging actor Nana Patekar harassed her during a film shoot in 2008, has escalated sharply with increasing numbers of women coming forward with their complaints against various personalities.

Minister Akbar is the latest to resign following the flood of accusations that have followed.

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