Union Minister and veteran journalist MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several female colleagues, s
tepped down as India’s junior foreign minister on Wednesday.
"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," Akbar said in a statement.
Akbar on Monday filed a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, one of the accusers, stating that allegations levelled against him were "false, fabricated and deeply distressing".
Being the Minister of State for External Affairs and due to his long association with the Indian media wherein he served as the editor of top Indian media organisations, Akbar has been a well-known face across the world. Hence, his resignation was a big deal not only for Indian media but also for foreign media.
Here's a look at how the news of MJ Akbar's resignation was covered by international media: New York Times : "A Top Indian Minister Resigns, but Can #MeToo Reform Government?"
The report said that Indian women were facing their toughest battle, "demanding accountability from the highest echelon of male power: the government".
"Whether Mr. Akbar’s fall sets off a wider reckoning within the country’s political class will largely determine whether India’s #MeToo movement leads to lasting change in the country," said the report.
Washington Post: "Indian government minister steps down as country’s #MeToo movement gains traction"
Terming it a "high-profile departure", the report said that due to the mounting allegations against him, Akbar's presence in the cabinet had become a liability for a government "that has sought to present itself as a champion of women and girls".
Malaysiakini: "Indian minister in centre of #MeToo storm steps down"
Calling it "The most high-profile casualty of a growing #MeToo movement", the report pointed at how "Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has said very little about the accusations against one of its members or about the upsurge in #MeToo allegations".
DAWN/AFP: "Indian minister M.J. Akbar steps down as sexual harassment allegations snowball"
#MeToo movement claimed its highest-profile scalp to date, said the report.
Gulf News: "M. J. Akbar resigns following sexual harassment allegations"
The report quoted Akbar saying that he was "seeking justice in a court of law in his personal capacity", adding that "20 women had come forward to narrate their experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Akbar".
Reuters: "M.J. Akbar resigns to fight sexual harassment accusations"
The news agency said that Akbar had resigned to fight allegations of sexual harassment levied by several women and called it "the biggest scalp in the country's #MeToo movement that gathered momentum last week".
Disclosure: All matters brought to Network18’s attention which are within the purview of the workplace have been forwarded to our Internal Committee for Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the workplace for appropriate action. The Internal Committee is independent and all recommendations made by it are followed through by Management action. Network18 Group has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment. The company complies fully with all legal provisions and seeks to ensure a speedy and effective Redressal on complaints. Have you signed up for Primo, our daily newsletter? I t has all the stories and data on the market, business, economy and tech that you need to know.