Yet another woman has accused MJ Akbar of rape and physical abuse. Shillong born Pallavi Gogoi who is currently the chief business editor of US-based National Public Radio (NPR) has accused Akbar of raping her when she was working with The Asian Age as a 23-year-old.
But M J Akbar said it was a consensual and Pallavi lied. Akbar said it was true he had a relationship and that caused strain in his family but rape was an utter lie.
According to Gogoi’s first-hand account published in The Washington Post, Akbar first sexually assaulted Gogoi in 1994.
“I went to show him the op-ed page I had created with what I thought were clever headlines. He applauded my effort and suddenly lunged to kiss me. I reeled. I emerged from the office, red-faced, confused, ashamed, destroyed,” she wrote in The Washington Post.
Akbar’s wife also came to his rescue. Saying that Pallavi was flaunting his relationship with MJ and she had to fight and bring him out of it. “Had it was a rape she should not have hung in our house for all these years” she said in a satement.
Meanwhile Gogoi alleged that Akbar made unsolicited sexual advances towards her plenty of times.A few months later, Gogoi was invited for a magazine launch in Bombay (now Mumbai) by Akbar.
“When he again came close to me to kiss me, I fought him and pushed him away. He scratched my face as I ran away, tears streaming down,” Gogoi narrated the events.
Soon after the Bombay incident, Akbar threatened to fire her “if she resisted him again”, she wrote in The Washington Post. Gogoi persisted and continued with her work. She was soon taken to Jaipur as part of a work assignment. Here Akbar invited Gogoi to his hotel to discuss the details of the story.
“In his hotel room, even though I fought him, he was physically more powerful. He ripped off my clothes and raped me. Instead of reporting him to the police, I was filled with shame,” she wrote.
He continued to defile me sexually, verbally, emotionally. He would burst into loud rages in the newsroom if he saw me talking to male colleagues my own age. It was frightening,” she added.
Gogoi was soon sent to London where a particular incident made her finally put an end to the years of the ordeal she was being subjected to at the hands of Akbar. At the London office, Akbar, Gogoi writes, was miffed after he spotted her talking to a male colleague.
“After my colleagues left work that evening, he hit me and went on a rampage, throwing things from the desk at me — a pair of scissors, a paperweight, whatever he could get his hands on. I ran away from the office and hid in Hyde Park for an hour,” she wrote.