#MeToo: Women journalists think BJP should have asked Akbar to resign on moral grounds

Women journalists responded strongly to Union minister MJ Akbar resignation stating that BJP should have asked him to resign and hoped that he would withdraw his defamation case

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NH Web Desk

Minister of State External affairs MJ Akbar resigned on Wednesday, October 17, after as many as 20 women came in support of Priya Ramani, the first woman journalist to publicly accuse him of harassment, against whom Akbar had filed a criminal defamation case two days ago

“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 soon after the resignation.

“As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court,” said Priya Ramani posted on Twitter, reacting to the news of Akbar’s resignation.

“I think it's the right decision and it would be better if he withdraws his case,” Ghazala Wahab, one of the journalists who had accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, told CNN-News18.

Another journalist who had levelled sexual assault allegations against MJ Akbar, Suparna Sharma said, “BJP should have taken a moral stand and asked MJ Akbar to step down. I am disappointed that did not happen.”

“It took two weeks and the bravery of nearly 20 women for MJ Akbar to quit. More power to women's rage, our right to work without harassment, our right to equality and our right to be,” senior journalist Barkha Dutt wrote on Twitter, expressing solidarity with Priya Ramani.

“I welcome government’s decision, NCW also welcomes it. This is the right decision," News18 quoted NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma as saying.

Akbar on Monday had filed a criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, the first woman journalist to publicly accuse him of harassment, a day after issuing a statement denying charges of sexual assault and harassment levelled against him. The suit has been scheduled to come up for hearing in the Patiala House Court, New Delhi, on Thursday, October 18.

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