Modi should speak on allegations against MJ Akbar: Subramanian Swamy on MeToo

Will the #MeToo movement change India?

In a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday, Mr Akbar said that the allegations are politically motivated as the country prepares for a general election next year.

Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs M J Akbar has hired 97 lawyers to file a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani after the latter levelled allegations of sexual harassment against him, a report published by the Janta Ka Reporter said. If the complaint made was informal in nature and if there were no written records, the moot point is whether the then owners or erstwhile senior colleagues of these media houses would testify if and when Mr Akbar's case is taken up in court.

According to the Times of India, several women journalists shared on social media their experiences of sexual misconduct by Akbar when he held senior editorial positions at various media organisations amid the #MeToo campaign in India.

"Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections". Moreover, he alleged that these accusations could be an agenda as they have surfaced a few months before the 2019 elections. One woman, Anju Bharti, went to the absurd extent of claiming I was partying in a swimming pool.

"His complaint accuses Ramani of "...willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously defaming the complainant, on wholly and completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds... thereby harming the goodwill and reputation of the complainant, within the political fraternity, media, friends, family, colleagues and in society at large". "I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour overseas", the junior foreign minister said in a statement. He has denied the charges as "false, wild and baseless". "She did not however name me as she knew it was an incorrect story", he said on Sunday. "You be the judge", he wrote.

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The string of allegations began with a tweet from journalist Priya Ramani on October 8 in which she said Akbar was the man who had harassed her as mentioned in her article for Vogue India a year ago. "This is the reason why no one went to the authorities for so long, because I had done nothing", he said.

"The only office where I worked with her was that of The Asian Age".

At least five women have accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassing them when he worked as the editor of a newspaper.

Akbar's criminal petition claimed that "the accused herself, while putting forward the aforementioned defamatorystatements, relating to incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago, simultaneously admits that the complainant has not done anything to her".

"The past two weeks have seen an upheaval, with several women from different professions, including journalists, making serious allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace and instances of sexual misconduct against various editors, writers, film-makers and others".

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