Not Surprised By MJ Akbar's Move, Say Women Activists

One of the activists, Vani Subramanian, said MJ Akbar was "not the first man to not accept his mistakes" and won't be the last

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Not Surprised By MJ Akbar's Move, Say Women Activists

MJ Akbar, accused of sex harassment in #MeToo movement, has filed a defamation case


New Delhi: 

Several women rights activists today said they were not surprised by Union Minister MJ Akbar's decision to go to court against a journalist who has accused him of sex harassment. One of the activists, Vani Subramanian, said Mr Akbar was "not the first man to not accept his mistakes" and won't be the last.

Mr Akbar filed a private criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani who has alleged that he had sexually harassed her when he was an editor.

"Such people tend to react in this way when their power and entitlement is challenged," Ms Subramanian told news agency Press Trust of India.

"He is not the first man to not accept his mistake and unfortunately he wouldn't be the last man to not admit his mistakes," she said.

Kavita Krishnan, the secretary of All India Progressive Women's Association, said Mr Akbar retaining his position as a union minister is a "slap" on the face of all women not only by him but also by the government.

"Akbar remaining a minister and intimidating victims with defamation cases is a slap on the face of all women -- not by Akbar alone but by the Modi government too. This is Modi's version of Trump's move to confirm Michael Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, mocking women who accused him of assault," she said.

Ranjana Kumari, the director of the Centre for Social Research, said that as an individual, Mr Akbar has every right to go to court, but the case is not between him and a journalist, but "14 other media persons" have accused him.

"He is in a position of power and he can influence people," Ms Kumari said.

The Minister of State of External Affairs on Sunday rejected the allegations as "false, fabricated and deeply distressing" and said he was taking appropriate legal action against the accusers.

Chhavi Methi, another women rights activist, said Mr Akbar should get a fair chance to put forward his point but at the same time "we should respect women and not take them for granted".

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