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Vindicated, say women journalists after Akbar quits

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Women journalists who levelled allegations of sexual harassment and molestation against former editor M.J. Akbar on Wednesday expressed their happiness over his stepping down as the Minister of State for External Affairs.

Journalists Priya Ramani, who was the first to go public with her accusation against the former editor and is facing a defamation suit filed by Akbar, said she was “vindicated”.

“As women, we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court,” Ramani tweeted.

Over a dozen journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and molestation. He filed a defamation suit against Ramani alleging that “scandalous allegations” have been made to bring down his image in society.

Journalist Suparna Sharma who had accused Akbar of having “plucked my bra strap”, said the fight was not over with his resignation.

“Akbar should have resigned immediately after returning to India instead of issuing a statement,” said Sharma referring to Akbar’s Sunday statement where he had rubbished all the allegations and questioned the motive behind them.

“When he issued the statement, it seemed it was government versus Priya Ramani. Now that he has resigned, it is Akbar vs Priya Ramani,” she said insisting the former minister should withdraw the defamation case against Ramani.

“We don’t know who is backing and supporting him, but I am happy and glad that he has stepped down. The longer he fights this battle against Ramani, more women will come out,” she said asserting the fight against sexual harassment will continue.

“On #MahaAshtami Devi Durga slays the demon? #MJAkbar gone….” tweeted journalist Saba Naqvi who had called Akbar a “predator”.

Journalist Harinder Baweja, who too had accused Akbar, wondered if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would now “break their silence”.

“Akbar should have done it (resigned) much earlier. Staying on also reeked of a sense of entitlement.

“As a next step, he should withdraw the defamation suit unless M.J. Akbar wants to continue defaming himself,” Baweja said on twitter.

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