India minister sues #MeToo accuser


15 October, 2018 18:25 PM

India minister sues #MeToo accuser

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Indian minister MJ Akbar has filed a defamation case against a woman journalist who named him as part of a #MeToo movement gripping the country.

Priya Ramani's allegations against Mr Akbar inspired more women to talk about his alleged "predatory conduct".

Apart from the case against Ms Ramani, he has threatened to also sue the other women who have spoken out against him.

The former newspaper editor added that he would not be stepping down from his post as deputy foreign minister.
The minister is the most high-profile figure to be named in India's #MeToo movement.

He returned from an official trip abroad on Monday and called the allegations "false" and "baseless".

Ms Ramani is yet to respond to the latest development.

Mr Akbar was first named last week by Ms Ramani, who retweeted an article she had written for Vogue India in 2017 titled "To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world", where she recounted what she called her first experience of workplace harassment.

Ms Ramani did not name anyone in the original piece, but said in a tweet on 8 October that the article had been about Mr Akbar.

Since then, other women have come forward with their own stories naming Mr Akbar. At least one other anonymous account is believed to be about him.

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

The charges against him range from "predatory behaviour" to outright sexual assault.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday, Mr Akbar said that the allegations are politically motivated as the country prepares for a general election next year.

"Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge," he wrote.

Many journalists and women have taken to social media to support those who have accused Mr Akbar of harassment.

Comedians, journalists, authors, actors and filmmakers have been called out on social media in the past week.

Veteran actor Alok Nath, and film directors Vikas Bahl, Subhash Ghai and Sajid Khan are among the other high-profile figures to be accused of sexual assault. They have all denied the allegations.