New Delhi: Union Minister MJ Akbar’s defamation case against one of his 14 accusers in the #MeToo movement has failed to stop a 15th woman coming out against him and calling him out on sexual harassment.
In the latest turn of events, an article in Scroll.in by Tushita Patel, who was a part of the team that started The Asian Age expressed surprise at Akbar's “complete lack of contrition and attempt to victim shame”. In her article, she has accused Akbar of kissing her forcibly, twice and once greeting her in his underwear in a hotel room.
"I am reading with indignation, but not surprise, about your complete lack of contrition, your lies, your facetious arguments, your lack of sensitivity in your attempt to victim shame and some remarkably stupid statements. If I don't speak up now, I feel I'll be complicit in your crimes," she writes.
Patel’s first encounter with Akbar was in 1992 in Kolkata when she was a trainee in The Telegraph.
In her article, Patel mentioned that she met Akbar at a hotel with her colleagues. Later, he found out her phone number and called her continuously. "You opened the door dressed only in your underwear. I stood at the door, stricken, scared and awkward. You stood there like the VIP man, amused by my fear... Does greeting a 22-year-old in a state of undress pass your test of morality? Is that not "doing" something?" Patel referred to minister’s defence that his accusers had said he didn't "do" anything.
In another incident, Akbar allegedly summoned Patel to his hotel again for work. She stated, "Suddenly you got up, grabbed me and kissed me hard - your stale tea breath and your bristly moustache are still etched in the recesses of my memory. I wriggled out and ran till I reached the road, jumped into an auto rickshaw and started crying."
Patel said that the minister should stop lying and show some contrition.
“We are not confused, conflicted or vulnerable any more. Our time to speak is now - when we don't have to run to a police station to lodge a complaint before anyone would give us a hearing," she added.
On Sunday, MJ Akbar released his statement stating that he will not quit as Union Minister of State for External Affairs and will fight legally against the allegations of sexual harassment by several women journalists.
Akbar on Monday sued Priya Ramani- the first woman to name him for the sexual harassment and said that she was “intentionally putting forward malicious, fabricated and salacious” allegations to ruin his goodwill and reputation.