Nation Current Affairs 02 Nov 2018 #MeToo: US-based jou ...

#MeToo: US-based journalist accuses former minister MJ Akbar of rape

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Nov 2, 2018, 10:03 am IST
Updated Nov 2, 2018, 3:47 pm IST
In a first-person account, journalist Pallavi Gogoi has written about the traumatic abuse she faced at the hands of MJ Akbar.
'In his hotel room, even though I fought him, he was physically more powerful. He ripped off my clothes and raped me,' the journalist wrote. (Photo: File) 
 'In his hotel room, even though I fought him, he was physically more powerful. He ripped off my clothes and raped me,' the journalist wrote. (Photo: File) 

Mumbai: In the wake of #MeToo allegations by women journalists against editor-turned -politician MJ Akbar,  another woman journalist who worked with Akbar at The Asian Age during the 90's has now accused him of assaulting and raping her.

In a first-person account, Pallavi Gogoi, an editor at the National Public Radio (NPR), has written about the traumatic abuse she faced in a column published by The Washington Post which has been dismissed by Akbar's lawyer.

 

Terming them as the 'most painful memories' of her life, the US-based journalist recalls that as a 22-year-old graduate, she was 'star-struck' when she joined The Asian Age's Delhi office to work under a leading and successful editor -- MJ Akbar.

Soon after, in 1994, Akbar 'applauded her efforts and suddenly lunged to kiss' her. The journalist recalls that she was left 'red-faced, confused, ashamed, destroyed'. 

In just a span of a few months, the second incident took place in Mumbai where she says Akbar 'came close to me to kiss me'.  When she 'fought him and pushed him away', Akbar ended up scratching her face. 

Also Read: 'It was consensual relation': MJ Akbar on US-based journalist's rape claims

After returning to Delhi, Akbar 'threatened to kick me out of the job if I resisted him again' said the journalist. 

The third incident took place when she was called by Akbar, who was in Jaipur, to 'discuss a story' in his hotel room where he eventually assaulted and raped her. 

"In his hotel room, even though I fought him, he was physically more powerful. He ripped off my clothes and raped me," the journalist wrote. 

The journalist, who did not tell anyone about the incident, said 'instead of reporting him to the police, I was filled with shame.' She added that she became helpless and Akbar 'continued to defile her' for a few months. 

The abuse did not end here and continued even when the woman journalist moved to the London office where Akbar 'hit her and went on a rampage, throwing things'. The journalist confided in her family and friends and left The Asian Age soon after. 

The journalist says she wrote the column to 'support the many women who have come out to tell their truth'.

MJ Akbar resigned from the post of junior foreign minister on October 17 and filed a lawsuit against journalist Priya Ramani for outing him. He has also labelled these allegations as 'baseless and wild'.

Read the full report here. 

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