Editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar has resigned as the Minister of State for External Affairs amid sexual harassment allegations by several of his former colleagues.
“Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of Minister of State for External Affairs. I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and to the external Affair Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country,” he said in a statement.
Mr Akbar, 67, has been named in multiple accounts that have surfaced in the #MeToo movement that started in India after former actor Tanushree Dutta accused her co-star Nana Patekar of harassment during a film shoot 10 years ago. The defiant minister ignored calls for his resignation and instead filed a criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani, the first woman to call out the former editor-in-chief of The Asian Age.
The #MeToo movement, which began in the US more than a year ago in response to accusations of sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men in the entertainment industry, gained traction in India last month after former actor Tanushree Dutta accused her co-star Nana Patekar of sexual harassment on the sets of a film in 2008.
Since then, several men in the media, entertainment, political and art worlds have been accused of offences, ranging from sexual harassment to rape.
Culled from ndtv.com