MJ Akbar: India minister threatens to sue over #MeToo allegations


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. "Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action". They also demanded removal of Akbar from the Union Council of Ministers.

India's Minister of State for External Affairs Mobashar Jawed Akbar walks inside his residence in New Delhi, India October 14, 2018. More than half a dozen women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he was working as an editor at different media houses.

"The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice", Akbar said, according the news agency.

"This is my story".

Akbar was accused by Puy Kamp of kissing her forcibly when she was interning at The Asian age in 2007. Priya Ramani had accused MJ Akbar in a twitter post while the Modi minister was in Nigeria.

MJ Akbar added that such allegations have damaged his reputation and goodwill.

Half of the respondents who said they or someone in their family faced harassment cited that the episode took place at work during regular office hours, while 19 per cent said it occurred after hours at the workplace. "A part of the editorial team then worked out of a small hall", it said.

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Akbar has been a prominent figure in Indian public life for decades as an author, the editor of several newspapers, a confidante of the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and now as the only Muslim minister in India's Hindu nationalist government.

But he still faces calls to be sacked from his position as more allegations emerge.

The incident triggered multiple women to come out with their own sexual harassment stories. At least one other anonymous account is believed to be about him.

Even when cases do reach the HR and the committee, many complainants are asked to withdraw, while some result in transfer or voluntary resignation by the perpetrator without any explicit reason cited, said Kamal Karanth, cofounder of recruiting firm Xpheno.

Star Akshay Kumar said he had requested that the making of "Housefull 4" be stopped following allegations against director Sajid Khan and actor Nana Patekar.

The #MeToo movement in India actually started past year with Dalit women taking the lead.

In India, women are taking to social media to speak out against sexual harassment they've experienced in the media and entertainment industries. She claimed that, unable to cope with the harassment, she had finally left the job and had informed a female editor in Delhi that she found it hard to work with Mr Akbar.