20 women journalists are ready to testify against Union Minister MJ Akbar of sexual harassment after a defamation lawsuit against Priya Ramani and several others.
In a joint statement issued by the journalists said that their colleague Ramani is not “alone in her fight”.
“We would request the honorable court hearing the defamation case to also consider the testimonies of sexual harassment of some of us at the hands of the petitioner, as also of the other signatories who bore witness to this harassment,” added the journalists signing the statement.
The journalists have claimed that several of them have been subject to sexual harassment from their then-editor, Akbar and urged the court to hear their testimonial in the defamation case.
As per a report by PTI, Meenal Baghel who worked for Asian Age (1993 to 1996), Manisha Pande (1993-1998), Tushita Patel (1993-2000), Kanika Gahlaut (1995-1998), Suparna Sharma (1993-1996), Ramola Talwar Badam (1994-1995), Hoihnu Hauzel (1999-2000), Aisha Khan (1995-1998), Kushalrani Gulab (1993-1997), Kaniza Gazari (Asian Age 1995-1997), Malavika Banerjee (1995-1998), A T Jayanthi (1995-1996), Hamida Parkar (1996-1999), Jonali Buragohain, Meenakshi Kumar (1996-2000), Sujata Dutta Sachdeva (1999-2000), Reshmi Chakraborty (1996-98), Kiran Manral (1993-96) and Sanjari Chatterjee have signed the statement.
A Deccan Chronicle journalist, Christina Francis (2005-2011) has also signed it claiming that Akbar’s “legal actions” have shown his refusal to “introspect, acknowledge or atone for his actions”, the statement said that it had caused “immense pain and harm” to several women over years.
“He himself, in the meanwhile, continues to enjoy enormous power and privilege as minister and Member of Parliament. When Ramani spoke out against him in public, she spoke not only about her personal experience, but also lifted the lid on the culture of ‘casual misogyny, entitlement, and sexual predation’ that Akbar engendered and presided over at The Asian Age,” the statement said.