An Indian Government minister for foreign affairs has resigned due to allegations of sexual harassment and assault. He becomes the latest casualty of the #metoo movement
Mj Akbar, Junior minister for foreign affairs, is facing allegations of groping a former female colleague, an allegation he calls ‘false’.
‘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 said.
Akbar initially refused to step down after the allegation became public despite growing calls from the public, instead, he vowed to go to courts to clear his name.
He filed a defamation suit on Monday. Akbar was formerly an influential Newspaper editor before he became the minister.
The Defamation Suit
Akbar’s defamation suit is aimed at journalist Priya Ramani, who named him in a tweet last week as the subject of an article she had written for Vogue India in 2017.
In the article, she describes an experience of workplace harassment during a job interview with an unnamed editor in a Mumbai hotel room.
On October 8, She tweeted the identity of the unnamed editor was Akbar, making her the first to come out in a series of public allegations against the minister from former colleagues.
His lawsuit argues that Ramani had ‘willfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously’ defamed him ‘on wholly and completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds.’
Minutes after news of Akbar’s resignation broke, Ramani tweeted: ‘As women, we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo.’
As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation.
I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo
— Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 17, 2018
Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta is credited for sparking India’s #Metoo movement when she alleged she had suffered sexual assault in the hands of her co-star in a 2008 film, Nana Patekar.
Patekar dismissed the claims, saying, ‘My lawyers have told me not to speak to the media so I can’t say anything. Otherwise, I would have said something in the past four days. This case is 10 years old, what was true then is true today.’
Since the reveal, other accounts of sexual assault have shaken the media and entertainment industry. One Bollywood production house has been dissolved following sexual harassment allegations against one of its co-founders.
A Delhi-based Indian political journalist currently lost his position pending internal investigation due to allegations of inappropriate behavior, reports reveal.