NEWS
02/11/2018 12:32 PM IST | Updated 02/11/2018 12:38 PM IST

#MeToo In India: MJ Akbar Accused Of Rape By U.S. Based Journalist

MJ Akbar, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault, has now been accused of rape.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Former Union minister MJ Akbar appeared at Patiala house court for a hearing in the sexual harassment case filed against him on October 31, 2018 in New Delhi, India.

M.J. Akbar, who, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by women journalists, recently resigned as India's junior minister for external affairs, has now been accused of rape by a journalist based in the United States.

Journalist Pallavi Gogoi, the chief business editor at the National Public Radio (NPR), wrote in the Washington Post that Akbar raped her when she was working at the Asian Age in the nineties, and he was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

The alleged crime occurred in Akbar's hotel room in Jaipur, where she was summoned to discuss a story, Gogoi, then in her early twenties, wrote.

"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. I didn't tell anyone about this then. Would anyone have believed me? I blamed myself. Why did I go to the hotel room?" Gogoi wrote.

"What was worse was that after that first time, his grip over me got tighter. I stopped fighting his advances because I felt so helpless. He continued to coerce me, For a few months, he continued to defile me sexually, verbally, emotionally," she wrote.

"I was in shreds — emotionally, physically, mentally," she wrote.

Gogoi wrote that Akbar decided to send her overseas, which she hope would end the harassment, but it continued.

"Except the truth was that he was sending me away so I could have no defenses and he could prey on me whenever he visited the city where I would be posted," she wrote. "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."

In the write up, Gogoi recounted a pattern of sexual harassment and assault, which led up to Akbar allegedly raping her in Jaipur.

Gogoi wrote that in 1994, when she had gone to his office to show him the op-ed page of the newspaper, Akbar lunged and kissed her.

Gogoi recounted another episode in Mumbai. "He called me to his room at the fancy Taj hotel, again to see the layouts. 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," she wrote.

Akbar, who resigned on October 17, has filed a case of criminal defamation against Priya Ramani, the first journalist who accused him. "Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me," he wrote in a statement.

Read Gogoi's full piece here.