Union Minister MJ Akbar today resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs days after he refuted all sexual harassment allegations levelled against him as false, fabricated and deeply distressing. The development comes after another woman journalist accused him of of sexual harassment and 17 women journalists who have worked with `The Asian Age’ newspaper, came out in support of their colleague Priya Ramani.
The resignation of MJ Akbar comes after a prolonged and stout denial by him of the charges leveled against him. When the floodgates broke, he was on an official tour. It was expected he would put in his papers immediately, he did not. When he did finally land back in Delhi, he reasserted his refusal to resign and the government and the Prime Minister kept quiet on the subject, dodging questions about him constantly.
Then came news that MJ Akbar had filed a criminal defamation case against one of his alleged victims, employing a reputed firm of lawyers of which it was said no less than 97 members had signed the notice sent to the victim Priya Ramani. The chorus for MJ Akbar’s removal, however, did not die but got louder with each passing day. He did finally tender his resignation but has announced he will continue to fight the defamation case against Priya Ramani in court. The case we learn is slated to come up for a hearing on 18th October.
Many journalists from multiple media platforms have come forward with their stories of harassment against the Minister of State for External Affairs under the social media campaign ‘#Metoo’ against sexual misconduct.
“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. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of Minister of State for External Affairs,” said MJ Akbar in a statement.