The absolute truth is my only defence: Priya Ramani after MJ Akbar files criminal defamation case against her

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 15, 2018, 08.05 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

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'By instituting a case of criminal defamation against me, Mr Akbar has made his stand clear: rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment,' she said.  

"Truth and the absolute truth is my only defence," the journalist Priya Ramani has said after news broke Monday afternoon that Union Minister MJ Akbar had sued her for criminal defamation

Ramani put out her statement on Twitter. 

"Those who have spoken up against Mr Akbar have done so at great risk to their personal and professional lives," she wrote. 

"This is why I wish to register my strong protest against Mr Akbar's most recent statement, which pays no heed to the trauma and fear of survivors or the courage required to speak truth to power," she added. 

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Over 10 women journalists have accused Akbar, minister of state for external affairs, of sexual assault and harassment from when he was a newspaper editor. 

Akbar, who returned to India Sunday morning from Africa, had been expected to resign. But he instead put out a statement (see tweet below) denying the allegations and alleging a political conspiracy "a few months before a general election". 

He added in his statement that Ramani had begun "this campaign a year ago with a magazine article" (see tweet below) and that he would be deciding a "future course of legal action". 

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"I am deeply disappointed that a union minister should dismiss the detailed allegations of several women as a political conspiracy," Ramani wrote on Monday. 

"By instituting a case of criminal defamation against me, Mr Akbar has made his stand clear: rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment," she said.  

"Needless to say, I am ready to fight allegations of defamation against me, as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence," she added.