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Last Updated : Oct 17, 2018 07:19 PM IST | Source:

MJ Akbar resigns as MoS External Affairs in wake of #MeToo allegations

Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment by as many as 20 women, most cases dating back to his time as an editor of The Asian Age in the 1990s

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Union Minister MJ Akbar resigned on October 17 over allegations of sexual harassment by a number of women journalists.

Akbar has denied all allegations levelled against him, and has sought legal recourse against one of his key accusers.

"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," Akbar said in a statement.

"I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of Minister of State for External Affairs. I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and to the External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country," Akbar added in the statement.

Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment by as many as 20 women, most cases dating back to his time as an editor of The Asian Age in the 1990s.

Reacting to Akbar’s resignation, National Commission of Women (NCW) member Rekha Sharma told News18, “I welcome government’s decision. NCW welcomes it. This is the right decision.”

One of Akbar’s accusers, Ghazala Wahab told News18, “This should have happened three days back. I am happy right now.”

Another accuser Suparna Sharma told the news channel, “It came late but I am happy that he stepped down.”

Akbar had on October 15 filed a private criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani who recently levelled charges of sexual misconduct against him as the #MeToo campaign raged in India.

The Minister of State for External Affairs has accused Ramani of "wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously" defaming him and has sought her prosecution under the penal provision on defamation.

His resignation comes a day before a court will hear the defamation case filed against Ramani on October 18.

The #MeToo movement, which originated in the West last year, hit India after actress Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment.

Since then, a number of women have come forward, naming individuals mainly in the fields of entertainment and media.
First Published on Oct 17, 2018 04:50 pm
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