#MeToo: Editors Guild Asks MJ Akbar To Withdraw Case Against Priya Ramani

Indian minister in #MeToo storm announces resignation

MJ Akbar: India minister quits after #MeToo allegations

Several women journalists, including Ghazala Wahab, Priya Ramani, Shutapa Paul and Shuma Raha, had made allegations of sexual harassment against Mr Akbar.

One of India's most influential editors, he has edited leading English-language newspapers in India, such as The Telegraph and The Asian Age.

Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything", Luthra told the court adding "Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against complainant. Lawyers and women's groups said that could act as a deterrent to more victims coming forward.

Cases typically drag on for years in India's overstretched legal system.

Mr. Akbar was not present in the court. "Not all victims have the emotional fortitude to withstand the rigors of a criminal trial in India".

Akbar's name had cropped up in the social media campaign #Metoo against alleged sexual harassment when he was in Nigeria on an official tour as a Union Minister. "We would request the honourable court hearing the defamation case to also consider the testimonies of sexual harassment of some of us at the hands of the petitioner, as also of the other signatories who bore witness to this harassment", the journalists said in the joint statement undersigned by them.

Some have also underlined the fact that the resignation was long due and should have come right when the allegations were made.

Akbar, who was the Minister of State for External Affairs, resigned from his post on Wednesday, citing his will to pursue the legal route in this matter "in his personal capacity".

The allegations against Akbar even seemed to divide the ranks of India's government, which is led by the Bharatiya Janata Party and usually stays on message. Prior to that meeting, Mr Doval also met Mr Akbar and then home minister Rajnath Singh before meeting the BJP president.

While the Congress termed the resignation as "victory of truth", it asked whether the prime minister will dare to speak up now. Yet a number of accused men have denied allegations in public statements or hit back at women for speaking out. In his statement, MJ Akbar had named four other women who had accused him but filed the criminal defamation complaint only against Ramani.

Akbar earlier dismissed Ramani's accusations and said he would sue for defamation.

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.

Ramani and Akbar did not respond to Reuters requests for further comment on the case.

Twenty journalists had come out in her support on Tuesday evening, saying she was not alone and that they would testify in court against Akbar.

Meanwhile, women journalists couldn't be more elated.

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