#MeToo: M.J. Akbar sues Priya Ramani for defamation

Congress party workers stand on police barricades and shout slogans as they protest against minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar for his alleged sexual misconduct and harassment of journalists during a protest in New Delhi India on Oct. 15

#MeToo: M.J. Akbar sues Priya Ramani for defamation

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should speak on the allegations levelled against journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar as part of the MeToo movement.

Union Minister MJ Akbar Monday filed a criminal defamation case in Delhi's Patiala House Court against journalist Priya Ramani, through his advocates Karanjawala & Co.

Minister M.J. Akbar filed a case against journalist Priya Ramani, the first of more than a dozen women to allege harassment in recent weeks from his days as a newspaper editor, Akbar's lawyer Sandeep Kapur told The Associated Press. Feebly adding, he is being targeted right before the 2019 general elections, which, according to him, is proof that the accusers have a political agenda. He had also hinted at a political conspiracy behind the charges.

"Legal action has been taken in these cases as well". It also stated that the allegations have not only damaged the minster's goodwill and reputation in his social circle but also affected his reputation in the community and friends, family and colleagues, causing irreparable loss and tremendous distress.

"I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour overseas", he added.

Ramani named Akbar as the editor she had alluded to in an article in the Vogue magazine on sexual harassment at the workplace in October 2017. "You be the judge", Akbar said, referring to the elections to be held in five states-Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana-starting 12 November.

However, in her 8 October Tweet, she wrote: "I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story".

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According to a report by The Indian Express, Suparna Sharma, Resident Editor of The Asian Age, said "He pursued nearly all women in the same way - meetings in hotels, dangling plum assignments at them, sending them out of town and then arranging to meet them in a hotel, or insisting that they take a vehicle ride with him".

"The only office where I worked with her was that of The Asian Age". He has denied the charges as "false, wild and baseless".

The other journalists who have accused Akbar, which include some of the country's leading journalists and authors, were not immediately reachable on Sunday, or did not immediately respond to requests for comment. She claimed that, unable to cope with the harassment, she had finally left the job and had informed a female editor in Delhi that she found it hard to work with Mr Akbar.

So far, at least 10 women journalists have accused the junior of Sushma Swaraj of sexual misconducts.

Talking to the HuffPost India, the survivor, Majlie de Puy Kamp, claimed that she was 18 whereas Akbar was 55-year old at the time of incident.

She said the issue of women security and self-respect is being raised in society, yet evils like sexual exploitation and harassment of women at various places are being reported.

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