#MeToo in India: President Ram Nath Kovind Accepts MJ Akbar’s Resignation With Immediate Effect; Defamation Case to Be Heard Tomorrow
President Ram Nath Kovind Accepts MJ Akbar’s Resignation (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, October 17: President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the resignation of Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar with immediate effect on Wednesday. The journalist-turned-politician had resigned earlier in the day amidst strong criticism over multiple sexual harassment allegations against him by several women. It must be noted that as many as 20 women have accused Akbar of sexually harassing them when he worked as a journalist.

On Monday, Akbar had filed a defamation case against Priya Ramani, who was one of the first women, who publicly accused Akbar, her former boss, of sexual misconduct. The 67-year-old had alleged a conspiracy to harm his goodwill and reputation. The defamation case will be heard tomorrow. Target of a Malicious, Defamatory Campaign: Akbar.

In his statement, Akbar said he has decided to seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity and hence, decided to resign. “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 (MoS) for External Affairs. I am deeply grateful to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country,” Akbar said in a statement issued after his resignation. MJ Akbar, Facing #MeToo Allegations, Will be Defended by 97 Lawyers.

On returning from an official visit to Nigeria earlier this month, the 67-year-old leader had refrained from speaking on the allegations and said that there will be a statement later on. Akbar had been facing flak over the allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women, with opposition parties mounting an attack on the government and demanding his ouster.  #MeToo in India: MJ Akbar Accused by 16th Woman of Sexual Harassment, Journalist Claims He Greeted Her in Underwear.

Akbar's resignation comes after 20 women came forward and alleged Akbar of sexually harassing them. It must be noted that the storm around journalist-turned-politician gathered momentum after #MeToo campaign raged in India.