Indian union minister MJ Akbar steps down over #MeToo allegations

MJ Akbar who resigned Wednesday has called allegations made against him

MJ Akbar who resigned Wednesday has called allegations made against him"false and fabricated

However, Akbar has termed his resignation as an appropriate step in a bid to seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity.

He filed criminal defamation charges on Monday against Priya Ramani, a journalist who wrote in an article past year about being sexually harassed by an unnamed former boss, whom she claimed on social media last week to have been Akbar.

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday welcomed former journalist MJ Akbar's decision to resign from his post in the External Affairs Ministry.

Nearly a fortnight after the allegations first emerged, minister of state for external affairs, MJ Akbar, has stepped down.

Ramani added that she was deeply disappointed that a Union minister should dismiss the detailed allegations of several women as a political conspiracy.

"When Ramani spoke out against him in public, she spoke not only about her personal experience, but also lifted the lid on the culture of "casual misogyny, entitlement and sexual predation" that Akbar engendered and presided over at The Asian Age", it said.

Reacting to Akbar's resignation, journalist Priya Ramani - the first woman to come out and accuse the former of sexual misconduct - said, "As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar's resignation".

M.J. Akbar, who became junior foreign minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government after a glittering journalistic career, maintained however that the barrage of allegations were false.

The movement, that began in the United States just over a year ago in response to accusations of sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry, gained traction in India in the past two weeks after a Bollywood actress complained about inappropriate behavior on film sets and complaints of improper conduct roiled India's biggest comedy group. "We salute the courage of the 20 fearless women who boldly faced Akbar's intimidation and forced him to resign as a minister of government of India", party spokesperson Dilip Pandey told PTI. Ramani had received an unprecedented support from across India. "These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill", he said. "I am ready to fight the allegations of defamation laid against me as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence", she had said.

Ramani first accused Akbar of misconduct by sharing a Vogue article from 2017 in which she described an unnamed man making unwanted advances toward her in a hotel room.

Patel, in the same blog, accused him of molesting her twice while she was working in Hyderabad in the Deccan Chronicle in 1993.

Akbar, a member of Modi's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was previously a member of the Congress Party. She did not however name me as she knew it was an incorrect story.

Earlier in the month, Priya Ramani and 19 others women accused Akbar of sexually harassing them when they used to with him in several news organisations.

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