#MeToo: MJ Akbar resigns to fight sexual harassment allegations

Indian minister in #MeToo storm announces resignation

MJ Akbar: India minister quits after #MeToo allegations

India's junior foreign minister has announced his resignation following allegations of sexual harassment by a string of women, as the country's fledgling #MeToo movement gathers pace.

He said in a statement that since he had chose to challenge the "false accusations" against him in his "personal capacity", he felt it was appropriate to step down from office.

Akbar has filed a defamation suit against one of the women who have accused him of a range of inappropriate behaviour during his career as a journalist before entering politics.

Facing allegations of groping, assault and harassment from former female colleagues, MJ Akbar, junior minister for foreign affairs, said he had made a decision to resign and challenge what he labeled "false accusations".

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

AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey on Wednesday asserted that Akbar's resignation has completely exposed the real character and face of the ruling BJP.

Ms Ramani has said that she is "ready" to fight the case against her.

"Now that M J Akbar, who has been accused by no less than 36 women of misconduct and harassment, has finally resigned, will PM Narendra Modi dare to speak up", Naik asked. "I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court", she said. "These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill", he said in his first statement after returning to India. Admitting that she was a fan of Akbar's journalism, Ramani wrote, "It was more date, less interview".

MJ Akbar's resignation was welcomed by many complainants as well as several women activists and political parties.

In her account, Patel recounted Akbar's persistent advances.

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. It may be recalled that after its initial silence, the Congress, led by its president Rahul Gandhi, has been supporting the movement, especially since the accusations against Akbar came out on social media. In a statement issued on Sunday, Akbar had named four other women who had accused him but filed the criminal defamation complaint only against Ramani.

"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.

Akbar was accused of sexual harassment from his former colleagues during his stint as editor of The Asian Age.

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