Big win for India’s #MeToo movement as M.J. Akbar resigns
MoS for External Affairs M.J. Akbar stepped down today following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment during his days as editor of several publications
New Delhi: Minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar resigned from his post on Wednesday, a day before a Delhi court was to hear a criminal defamation case filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani, the first among a large number of female journalists to accuse the former newspaper editor of sexual harassment.
According to people familiar with the developments, the government’s strategy seems to have been to allow Akbar to complete his Africa tour and return to India before taking a decision on calls for his resignation.
Akbar was given a chance to present his case, which he did via his statement issued on Sunday.
He attended office according to his routine on Monday and Tuesday. Though Akbar sat with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj for official meetings in the ministry, there was no specific meeting on the allegations against Akbar.
“With the number of accusations increasing day by day, his position was becoming untenable," said a second person familiar with the matter.
“There was a (negative) perception of the government that was gaining ground and the considered view was that this would be harmful for the government considering all the hard work put in over the past four years on various issues, including development." this person said.
“There were several people or levels of party and the government that were involved in Akbar tendering his resignation," the person said.
The decision that Akbar should step down was taken at the top levels of the government and the party, said a third person familiar with the matter. Akbar could have been given a sense of this when National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met him on Tuesday.
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