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Priya Ramani Responds: By Instituting A Case, MJ Akbar Seeks To Intimidate And Silence Women (Read Full Statement)

"I am ready to fight allegations of defamation laid against me, as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence."

The past two weeks have seen an upheaval, with several women from different professions, including journalists, making serious allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace and instances of sexual misconduct against various editors, writers, film-makers and others.

These testimonies have emerged as a consequence of a slow but increasing empowerment of women over the years and a #MeToo movement unfolding across social media in India and across the world.

In the case of Mr MJ Akbar, at the time these incidents occurred, the complainant women were working for him. Those who have spoken up against Mr Akbar have done so at great risk to their personal and professional lives.

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. 

This is why I wish to register my strong protest against Mr Akbar’s most recent statement, which pays no heed to the trauma and fear of survivors or the courage required to speak truth to power.

I am deeply disappointed that a union minister should dismiss the detailed allegations of several women as a political conspiracy. By instituting a case of criminal defamation against me ,Mr 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.

Needless to say, I am ready to fight allegations of defamation laid against me, as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence.

Priya Ramani

15 October 2018

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