Indian minister resigns over #MeToo allegations

Indian minister resigns over #MeToo allegations

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

In a statement released through news agency ANI, the minister said he deemed it appropriate to step down and challenge the "false accusations" levelled against him also in a personal capacity.

Meanwhile, the additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal will hear the criminal defamation case filed by MJ Akbar against Priya Ramani tomorrow.

Amid the growing #MeToo movement, MJ Akbar becomes the most high profile person to quit his job following sexual harassment allegations.

As the #MeToo movement intensifies, more women journalists who have worked with "The Asian Age" newspaper, came out in support of their colleague Priya Ramani who has accused Union minister M J Akbar of sexual harassment.

On Oct. 8, Ramani named Akbar as the man she had described, but not identified, in a 2017 Vogue article titled, "To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, an open letter", referring to the high-powered Hollywood film produced facing charges of rape and assault from multiple women in the United States. It is a sad commentary on our respect for the rule of law that the newspaper organisations concerned had not put in place mechanisms to implement the Vishakha Guidelines, which would have provided an avenue for redressal to women who felt they were the victims of sexual harassment.

The following day, dozens of members of the Congress Party's youth wing clashed with police outside Akbar's New Delhi home, demanding his resignation. Following this, several women stepped forward levelling similar allegations against Akbar. His resignation comes in the wake of a series of allegations of sexual harassment levelled by at least 16 women.

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MJ Akbar's resignation was welcomed by many complainants as well as several women activists and political parties. They also have often cited their failed efforts to get justice through regular channels.

"The allegations against him should be properly investigated", Athawale said.

Reacting to Mr Akbar's resignation, Ms Ramani tweeted that she had been "vindicated".

In a video clip that went viral on Wednesday, a Modi government spokesman appeared to rush away from a press conference after the Akbar case was raised and ignored repeated questions on the issue.

Around 20 journalists came forward and alleged the former editor of sexual harassment under #MeToo campaign on social media.

"What Mr Akbar has demonstrated through his legal actions is his refusal to introspect, acknowledge or atone for his actions that have caused huge pain and indeed harm to many, many women over the years", the 20 journalists willing to testify in court said in a statement.

"I ran out of his cabin and into the toilet to cry my eyes out", added Wahab, who now works as executive editor of Force magazine.

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