20 scribes rally behind Priya Ramani, want to testify against MJ Akbar

India’s junior Foreign Minister MJ Akbar resigned Wednesday after allegations of sexual harassment and assault by numerous women

India’s junior Foreign Minister MJ Akbar resigned Wednesday after allegations of sexual harassment and assault by numerous women

In a brief statement announcing his resignation, Akbar said he deemed it appropriate to fight the charges against him legally in a personal capacity, only two days after defying calls for his resignation when he returned from overseas on Sunday. "This is the reason why no one went to the authorities for so long, because I had done nothing", he said. "But it so happens that when a complaint against his minister comes, he keeps quiet".

Akbar's lawyer Sandeep Kapur of the law firm Karanjawala & Co said that the private criminal defamation case will be heard Thursday before chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal.

After Akbar resigned, Ramani said women feel vindicated. "He has received number of calls from different spheres...enquiring of the allegations, causing irreparable loss to reputation he has built in the last 40 years", Luthra told the court. 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. "His reputation is tarnished in the eyes of the people", she added. "It has defamed me".

Ramani has said she is "ready to fight allegations of defamation laid against me, as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence". Never named him because he didn't "do" anything.

"Sometimes, he would walk over to the door and put his hand over mine; sometimes he would rub his body against mine; sometimes he would push his tongue against my pursed lips; and every time I would push him away and escape from his room", she wrote.

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Luthra then mentioned Ramani's October 10 tweet,"Ten of us @_sabanaqvi @prernabindra @ghazalawahab @kadambarim @shutapapaul @suparnasharma @harinderbaweja @shumaraha @153anju have painted you a clear portrait of media's biggest sexual predator".

Arti Jerath, a journalist and political commentator who is not among Akbar's accusers, said his resignation should have come earlier.

Akbar is considered one of India's most influential publishers, having worked for several English-language newspapers in India, including The Telegraph and The Asian Age. Akbar's name had cropped up in the social media campaign #Metoo against alleged sexual harassment when he was in Nigeria on an official tour as an Union Minister.

In her account, Patel recounted Akbar's persistent advances.

More than a dozen women have accused M.J. Akbar, a junior foreign minister, of a range of inappropriate behavior during his career as a journalist before entering politics.

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