The #MeToo movement is getting stronger by the day in India, especially in the media Industry. The affirmative response to the #MeToo movement has led to many high profile personalities like Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Vikas Bahl and union minister MJ Akbar, under fire. Journalist Priya Ramani along with over 10 other women, have accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment.
However, to defend himself, Akbar on October 15, 2018, filed a criminal defamation case in Delhi’s Patiala House court against Ramani, accusing her of “willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously” defaming him. But coming strong against the charges, Ramani has said that she is ready to fight the lawsuit with “truth as her only defense”.
But in a new development, MJ Akbar, accused by over 20 women of sexual harassment, has decided to quit.
In a statement he said:
“Since I have decided 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.”
He had earlier said: “Accusations without evidence have become a viral fever.” He said the allegations were being circulated as part of an agenda ahead of upcoming general elections.
According to media reports, 97 lawyers of a law firm will represent MJ Akbar in his case. It has drawn sharp reactions from twitter.
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) October 15, 2018
A team of 97 lawyers vs @priyaramani …..’You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
You may shoot me with your words….You may cut me with your eyes,But still, like air, I’ll rise.’ #Metoo
— Marya Shakil (@maryashakil) October 15, 2018
Priya Ramani seems to be a strong lady who is taking the bull by its horns. In a detailed statement on her Twitter handle, Ramani wrote that she is deeply disappointed that a union minister dismissed the allegations of several women. And it looks like a political conspiracy, she added.
My statement pic.twitter.com/1W7M2lDqPN
— Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 15, 2018
Ramani further wrote that by filing a criminal defamation case against her, Akbar has made his stand clear.
Meanwhile, a panel of female journalists has written to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding Akbar’s dismissal.
The Network of Women in Media in India (NWMI) said in the letter to the President:
“You will agree this is highly unethical and improper and would cast a cloud over any investigation of his alleged misdeeds, besides undermining the independence, justice and fair play that any citizen can expect from such proceedings.”
Ramani was the first woman who had accused Akbar of sexual harassment. In a tweet on October 8, she had revealed that an article she had written last year about an editor inviting her to his hotel room for a job interview and asking her to sit on the bed with him, was Akbar.
— Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 8, 2018
Priya Ramani is inspiring many women to fight against the strong and powerful men and it is truly praiseworthy. No one can deny that fighting a defamation case filed by a union minister of India is not easy. Even her husband has also said that she is fighting against the union of India and not only a minister.