Journalist Priya Ramani on Monday said that she is ready to fight the defamation complaint filed in court against her by union minister MJ Akbar and expressed disappointment over his statement, saying it paid no heed to the "trauma and fear of the survivors".
She also said Akbar was seeking to "silence" the survivors through" intimidation and harassment".
The minister of state for external affairs had on Sunday rejected the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him by several women as "false, fabricated and deeply distressing".
Akbar filed a private criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court on Monday against Ramani, who has recently levelled the charges of sexual misconduct against him as the #MeToo campaign rages on in India.
"I am deeply disappointed that a union minister should dismiss the detailed allegations of several women as a political conspiracy," Ramani said in a statement.
"By instituting a case of criminal defamation against me, Akbar has made his stand clear: rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment," she added.
"Needless to say, I am ready to fight the allegations of defamation laid against me as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence," Ramani said.
Those who had spoken up against Akbar had done so at great risk to their personal and professional lives, she added.
"At this moment, it is disingenuous to ask why they have spoken now, as we are well aware of the stigma and shame that sexual crimes inflict upon victims. Rather than cast aspersions on the intent and motives of these women, we must reflect on how to improve the workplace for future generations of men and women," the journalist said.
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.
First Published: IST