#MeToo: Indian minister to release statement on sexual harassment allegations

Believe Women Saying #MeToo Panel Will Look Into Issue of Harassment Maneka Gandhi

Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi. Credit PTI

As many as 12 journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment while he was one of the most powerful journalists in India himself.

It termed as "scandalous" the allegations made by Ramani against Akbar and said "very tone and tenor" are ex-facie defamatory and they have not only damaged his goodwill and reputation in his social circle but also affected Akbar's reputation in the community and friends, family and colleagues and caused irreparable loss and tremendous distress.

Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah said that he was not in a position to comment on Akbar as the claims against the Union minister needed to be "looked into".

Ramani was the first woman to come out and accuse Akbar of sexual harassment and predatory behaviour. Ms Wahab had claimed in her piece on social media that she was just a small-town girl, that this was her first job, that she did not know how to react to his unsolicited advances, and that she was anxious that her conservative parents would have stopped her from working if they had got to know about this.

On Saturday, journalists demonstrated in New Delhi demanding Akbar's resignation. "Some are total, unsubstantiated hearsay; others confirm, on the record, that I didn't do anything", read the clarification. "You be the judge", Akbar said, referring to polls coming up in five states-Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana-starting 12 November.

On Friday, US-based journalist Majlie de Puy Kamp told online news portal HuffPost India that Akbar forcibly kissed her on the last day of her internship at The Asian Age office in 2007. This is deeply distressing. Since then, over a dozen other women, mostly journalists who worked with him or appeared for job interviews when he was an editor in Kolkata and New Delhi, have accused him of sexual harassment in the #MeToo campaign sweeping India.

"My account of sexual harassment". Ramani had alleged sexual harassment against him.

"...The conduct of the Accused person, of not taking any action before any authority, qua the alleged incident against the Complainant also clearly belies the sanctity of the article and allegations made by the Accused person, which evidently goes on to prove that the said defamatory articles are only a figment of her imagination and are only meant to malign the reputation of the Complainant".

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