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MJ Akbar case is #MeToo victory for South Asia: Meesha

He had filed a defamation case against a journalist

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 11 months ago
Posted: Feb 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 11 months ago

Meesha Shafi has called the ruling in a high-profile harassment case in India a “milestone victory” for #MeToo movement in South Asia.

Indian journalist Priya Ramani was acquitted in a defamation case filed by former Union minister MJ Akbar. Priya had accused him of sexual harassment.

“I feel vindicated,” Priya said Wednesday. “My victory will encourage more women to speak up and make powerful men think twice before taking victims to court.” 

In 2018, Priya became the first of many women to publicly accuse Akbar, who was also a high-profile newspaper editor, of sexual harassment.

“My victory belongs to everyone who spoke up during the #MeToo movement,” she said to The Hindu.

Many people, including celebrities, hailed the Delhi court’s ruling as an important step towards fighting sexual harassment at workplaces.

Lawyer Reema Omer remarked Priya’s victory is a lesson for those who try to silence sexual assault survivors using defamation suits.

Priya’s lawyer Rebecca John called her case the most important case of her career.

Priya was inspired by the #MeToo movement started in the United States, after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault in 2017, according to AFP.

She had written an article for Vogue in 2017 titled To the Harvey Weinsteins of the World, in which she wrote about her job interview with Akbar.

“You know how to pinch, pat, rub, grab and assault,” said Priya. “Speaking up against you still carries a heavy price that many young women cannot afford to pay.”

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mj akbar, meesha shafi, priya ramani
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