NEW DELHI: Undeterred by a defamation case filed by Union minister M J Akbar against senior journalist Priya Ramani who accused him of harassment and predatory behaviour, yet another woman made public her #MeToo story about him on Tuesday.
Journalist Tushita Patel, in an open letter written for a news portal addressing Akbar on Tuesday, accused him of sexually harassing her, calling her to a hotel room where he met her in his underwear and forcibly kissing her on two different occasions. “If I don’t speak up now, I feel I’ll be complicit in your crimes,” Patel wrote.
At least 15 women journalists have called out Akbar so far. Meanwhile, a number of women and journalists have come forward to help fund Ramani’s legal costs to fight the defamation case against Akbar.
Senior journalist Sucheta Dalal was among the first to moot the idea of crowd-funding Ramani’s legal defence. Dalal said she was sure lawyers would be willing to fight for Ramani free of cost, but “there are lots of expenses involved”.
Indian Women Press Corps has written separately to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi and National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma, demanding immediate inquiry against Akbar.
“We are deeply dismayed that despite the long list of complaints involving the Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, no formal inquiry into the complaints comprising of serious charges of sexual harassment has been instituted at any level in the government,” the letter written to the home minister said.
“Rather, motives have been attributed to the complainants.”The letter to Gandhi welcomed her announcement on setting up a panel taking cognizance of all complaints of sexual harassment, and sought her intervention for “a fair and impartial probe” against Akbar.