US journalist slams Akbar’s ‘consensual’ statement

MJ Akbar (centre), India’s Former Junior Minister for Foreign Affairs, leaves a court after a hearing in a defamation suit he filed against a female journalist in New Delhi, India, October 31, 2018.

New Delhi: A US journalist, who has accused former Union Minister M.J. Akbar of raping her 23 years ago, on Saturday slammed his “consensual relationship” claim.

In a first-person account in The Washington Post published on Friday, Pallavi Gogoi, now the Chief Business Editor at National Public Radio, gave a detailed account of how she was allegedly raped by Akbar and narrated her ordeal of working under him when he was the editor of The Asian Age newspaper years ago.

Akbar on Friday said they had a “consensual relationship” even as his wife accused Gogoi of lying.

Dismissing Akbar’s statement, Gogoi tweeted: “Rather than take responsibility for his abuse of me and his serial predation of other young women who have courageously come forward, Akbar has insisted- just like other infamous serial sexual abusers of women–that the relationship was consensual. It was not.”

She slammed the former Minister by saying that “a relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual.”

“I stand by every word in my published account. I will continue to speak my truth so that other women who have been sexually assaulted by him know it is okay for them to come forward and speak their truth too,” Gogoi said.

With over a dozen journalists accusing him of sexual harassment and assault, Akbar quit as Minister of State for External Affairs on October 17.

Denying the charges, he filed a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani who was the first to accuse him.


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