Court agrees to hear MJ Akbar’s case on Oct 31

Court agrees to hear MJ Akbar’s case on Oct 31

India's junior foreign minister has resigned following allegations by more than a dozen female journalists of sexual harassment when he was the editor of prominent newspapers. The minister was earlier defiant and ignored demands seeking his resignation.

Calling for dropping of the case against Ramani, the Guild said: "We hope that Mr Akbar will also display the grace to withdraw the criminal defamation case he has filed against one of the complainants".

MJ Akbar, the former editor of newspapers like The Telegraph and The Asian Age was named by Ramani in a tweet on October 8.

While tendering his resignation, Akbar asserted that he has taken the decision to step down from the office as he looks forward to seek justice in the court of law in his personal capacity.

The court has fixed the matter for recording Akbar's statement on 31 October and after being satisfied it may issue notice to Ramani for appearing and facing the trial in the defamation complaint.

Earlier, Akbar filed a defamation case in a Delhi court against one of the journalists.

Following a volley of allegations, the Editor-turned-politician, who has changed parties from the Congress to the BJP, said he had resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs on Wednesday to fight the case in his "personal capacity". "It is created to push women back into silent compliance and will silence the voices of the many who have not yet spoken up", they wrote. Since September, Indian actresses and writers have flooded social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault by their superiors and colleagues.

Earlier in the day, another Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said in a series of tweets that "the resignation of MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar after serious charges were levelled against him by senior women journalists who worked with him is a vindication of the power of truth even if it began with one fearless person speaking up".

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The women, who had worked for him during his journalistic career, alleged being forcibly kissed, touched inappropriately and made to feel uncomfortable such as during job interviews held in hotel rooms.

Akbar has filed a defamation suit against her.

Saba Naqvi, another journalist who has accused Akbar of harassment, too tweeted about his resignation.

The former journalist rejected the allegations by calling them as "false, fabricated and deeply distressing".

As many as 20 women came out with their stories of horror faced at the hands of the BJP leader.

Akbar was "an expert on obscene phone calls, texts, inappropriate compliments and not taking no for an answer", Ramani had said.

Was Delhi gang rape India's #MeToo moment?

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