Another woman accuses MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, says he 'greeted her in bare minimum clothing'
New Delhi, Oct 16: The list of women who have accused Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar of sexual harassment only seems to be getting longer. Tushita Patel, a journalist, has become 16th woman to accuse Akbar of harassment.
Patel, in a first person account published in Scroll.in, has narrated in detail what she experienced way back in the 90s. She wrote that Akbar opened the door dressed just in an underwear when she went to his hotel room. She also wrote that Akbar, who was in Kolkata then, got her number from someone else and called her "incessantly".
"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. I did go in and carried on blabbering out of fear till you finally put on a bathrobe. What would you say that was? Does greeting a 22-year-old in a state of undress pass your test of morality?" Patel wrote.
"Is that not "doing" something? I have visions of you like that. After that it's a bit hard to imagine you as the minister of external affairs representing India," her first person account further said.
Patel then goes on to write that once in Hyderabad Akbar grabbed her and kissed when she was working as a sub editor in Deccan Chronicle.
"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," she wrote.
Akbar held senior positions in several prominent newspapers/ media organisations like The Telegraph, Asian Age and India Today. In the past few days, multiple women have accused Akbar of sexual harassment when he was a journalist.
One of the first women to bring MJ Akbar's name to the fore was Priya Ramani, a journalist formerly with India Today and The Indian Express. She first wrote about her encounter with him a year ago. She did not reveal his name initially but dubbed him as a 'male editor' who behaved inappropriately. As the #MeToo Movement began to gain momentum, Priya made it clear that the detailed account was about Akbar's misconducts.
Among other women journalists to have accused Akbar of misconduct are Prerna Singh Bindra, Kanika Gahlaut, Suparna Sharma, Shutapa Paul and Ghazala Wahab. Wahab's account of MJ Akbar's persistent sexual abuses against her are deeply upsetting and harrowing.
Akbar, who returned to India after an official foreign trip, has denied all accusations against him and dubbed them as false and fabricated. He has, in fact, filed a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani on Monday.