MJ Akbar: India minister quits after #MeToo allegations

MJ Akbar: India minister quits after #MeToo allegations

The case was heard by an additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal.

Reacting to Mr Akbar's resignation, Ms Ramani tweeted that she had been "vindicated". It is lowering my reputation. As reported in the media, Shri Akbar is attempting to involve the complainants in time-consuming and costly litigation to avoid answering the allegations which have been levelled against him.

He said in a statement that since he had made a decision to challenge the "false accusations" against him in his "personal capacity", he felt it was appropriate to step down from office. "I have, therefore, tendered my resignation...", Akbar said.

A junior minister in India has filed a criminal defamation complaint against a woman who publicly accused him on social media of sexual misconduct, in a case that has highlighted setbacks facing India's nascent #MeToo movement.

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The plea contended that irreparable damage had been done to his reputation.

The lawyer also said tweets describing him as a predator were defamatory. On Sunday, Akbar said Ramani didn't name him in the story because she knew it was incorrect. "We would request the honourable court hearing the defamation case to also consider testimonies of sexual harassment of some of us at the hands of the petitioner, as also of the other signatories who bore witness to this harassment". Legal experts say defamation lawsuits, in particular, are sometimes used as a tool to stall opponents, especially against those who won't have the wherewithal to respond effectively to such cases.

Priya Ramani welcomed Akbar's exit.

The #MeToo movement has already had important consequences in India, with some accused men forced to resign from prominent positions and companies instituting new measures to make women feel safe in their workplaces.

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Ramani was the first to name Akbar in a Twitter post on October 8, and had revealed that an article she had written past 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.

Akbar, former editor of newspapers like The Telegraph and The Asian Age was named by Ramani in a tweet on October 8 where she said MJ Akbar was the man she had written about in a magazine article a year ago, when the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the USA set off an avalanche of #MeToo allegations.

So, it was not so much public pressure or PMO intervention but the RSS had finally got MJ Akbar's resignation. "This is the reason why no one went to the authorities for so long, because I had done nothing", he said.

"Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election", he asked. Is there an agenda?

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