New Delhi: Featuring in the growing list of men named in #MeToo movement that is gathering momentum since it broke on social media last week, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by at least six women journalists, when he worked as a newspaper editor.
Priya Ramani, who worked in India Today, The Indian Express and Mint, told that Akbar had called her to his hotel room for an interview. She described the interview as “more date, less interview”. She disclosed that during the interview Akbar offered her a drink and sang her “old Hindi songs”.
Another freelance journalist Kanika Gahlaut, who worked with Akbar from 1995 to 1997 in various capacities at the Asian Age and other publications, while discussing her experience disclosed that she was also invited by Akbar to a hotel room in Mumbai. She told that before they joined they were forewarned that MJ Akbar had a glad eye.
Suparna Sharma, currently the Resident Editor of The Asian Age, Delhi, recalled that one day when she was making the page one of the paper, Akbar was “standing behind” her. He plucked her bra strap on which she screamed at him. Sharma said that at least three women confided in her about his sexual misconduct.
Author Shuma Raha also shared her experience when she was called to a hotel room for an interview and was made to sit on the bed while giving an interview.
Journalist Prerna Singh Bindra also shared a similar invite to a hotel and said when she refused to go to the hotel at night, things got nasty
Another journalist Shutapa Paul, retweeing Ramani’s tweet naming Akbar, wrote, “#MeToo #MJAkbar 2010-11 while in @IndiaToday in Kolkata”.