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Women journalists rejoice as MJ Akbar resigns

Women journalists rejoice as MJ Akbar resigns

MJ Akbar Resigns as MoS For External Affairs Amid #MeToo Allegations.

With a high-level Group of Ministers being set up to look into lacunae in existing laws against sexual harassment, a separate legal committee to look into allegations that have surfaced in the #MeToo campaign might not see light of the day, sources said Friday.

Akbar tried to stay on as a minister and to deflect attention from the accusations by suing Ramani. Following these allegations, opposition parties as well as many media organisations have been demanding his resignation.

In a brief statement, Akbar said he has made a decision to quit so that he can seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity.

Former Minister for State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar's counsel told a Delhi court that Journalist Priya Ramani has caused a dent into the image of the former minister, which he had built over 40 years. The plaintiff did not appear before the court on Wednesday but is likely to be present on the next date, which is when the court will decide on summoning Priya Ramani, but only after recording the testimonies of Akbar and other witnesses of the prosecution.

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Earlier after returning from Nigeria, MJ Akbar termed the accusations false and baseless.

Proceedings for the case began on Thursday even as the Editors Guild - Mr Akbar is a past president - asked the former minister to withdraw his suit.

Twenty journalists had come out in her support on Tuesday evening, saying she was not alone and that they would testify in court against Akbar. The Junior minister was called out by at least 11 women journalist for sexual misconduct during his stint in journalism.

"The Commission urges women who have come forward on social media and other platforms about their alleged harassers to send their formal written complaints to ncw.metoo@gmail.com", the women rights body said. Akbar on Monday had filed the complaint against Ramani alleging she "wilfully" and "maliciously" made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing. Wahab's account of MJ Akbar's persistent sexual abuses against her are deeply upsetting and harrowing. Though she was "someone who got away" and didn't experience physical harassment, she describes how she continuously had to flee from Akbar's advances and finally quit the job within a year. On 8th October, a journalist took to Twitter and wrote about what had happened to her.

President Ram Nath Kovind Wednesday accepted the resignation of M J Akbar from the Union council of ministers on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said. It is a sad commentary on our respect for the rule of law that the newspaper organisations concerned had not put in place mechanisms to implement the Vishakha Guidelines, which would have provided an avenue for redressal to women who felt they were the victims of sexual harassment.


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