After Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar filed a criminal defamation suit against journalist Priya Ramani on Monday for levelling allegations of sexual harassment, Ramani said Akbar is trying to "silence" the voices "through intimidation and harassment".
Ramani is one of the many women who, in the raging #MeToo campaign, have accused Akbar of sexually harassing them in the capacity of the Editor of The Asian Age and other publications.
"I am deeply disappointed that a Union Minister should dismiss the detailed allegations of several women as a political conspiracy. By instituting a case of criminal defamation against me, Akbar has made his stand clear," Ramani said in a statement that she shared on the social media.
"Rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment," she added.
She insisted that she would fight allegations of defamation as "truth and absolute truth is my only defence".
She said that all the women who have spoken out against Akbar did so "at great risk" to their personal and professional lives.
"At this moment, it is disingenuous to ask why they (the victims) have spoken now, as we are well aware of the stigma and shame that sexual crimes inflict upon the victims. Rather than cast aspersions on the intent and motives of these women, we must reflect on how to improve the workplace for future generations of men and women," she said.
"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 the truth to power," Ramani said.
My statement pic.twitter.com/1W7M2lDqPNâ€” Priya Ramani (@priyaramani) October 15, 2018