Even as the #MeToo campaign is gaining momentum in India, after Bollywood, it is now knocking at the doors of Central government. Minister of State for External Affairs and former journalist MJ Akbar has been named in the #MeToo campaign by several woman journalists.
Priya Ramani was the first journalist, who called out MJ Akbar and accused him of inappropriate behaviour. After her post, several other women spoke up and accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment. With her tweet, Ramani had shared a link to her 2017 article, wherein she accused him of behaving inappropriately. Though, back then Ramani didn’t name him. However, in her tweet, she outed Akbar and also spilled the beans on why she didn’t reveal his name when she wrote the article.
“I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story. Never named him because he didn’t “do” anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator—maybe they’ll share,” she wrote on Twitter.
In her article, Ramani wrote than an editor of a leading publication insisted to interview her in his hotel room, where he offered her a drink and at one point even asked her to sit closer to him. Soon after, she called out Akbar on Twitter, several other journalists followed suit and narrated their stories involving MJ Akbar. Most of the women have detailed incidents wherein the former journalist would call them to his plush hotel room for interviews, offer alcohol and ask/say unwarranted questions and behave inappropriately.
One incident in particular was horrifying, wherein a journalist, who chose to remain anonymous, alleged that ‘the editor’ invited her to his hotel room, insisted her to drink and later groped, at which point, the woman pushed him and rushed out of the room.
MJ Akbar has been the editor of several leading newspapers like 'The Telegraph', 'Asian Age' and 'The Sunday Guardian'.
MeToo campaign which is gaining strength in India by the day officially started after Tanushree Dutta accused veteran actor Nana Patekar of sexual misconduct. Her allegations opened a floodgate with women coming out and naming sexual predators.
Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, actor-filmmaker Rajat Kapoor, AIB’s Gursimran Khamba and actor Alok Nath are among a men who have been accused of sexual misconduct.