Journalist Priya Ramani on Monday appeared for her cross-examination at the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in the defamation case filed against her by BJP MP MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct by over 20 women, including Priya.
Continuing her deposition prior to the cross examination before Magistrate Samar Vishal, Priya said, “I spoke the truth when I disclosed my experience of my first job interview in Vogue magazine and my tweets. It’s important for women to speak up about sexual harassment at workplace. Many of us are brought up to believe that silence is a virtue.”
Priya added that she spoke the truth in public interest and public good and she hoped that the disclosures in the Me Too movement would empower women to speak up and to better understand their rights at the workplace.
"In all my disclosures pertaining to Mr Akbar, I spoke the truth in public interest and the public good. It was my hope that the disclosures which were a part of the MeToo movement would empower women and would help them better understand their rights at the workplace," she told Addiditional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal at the Rouse Avenue Court.
She said the case has come at a great personal cost to her. "I have nothing to gain of it. I am a well-known journalist, I live a quiet life with my family in Bengaluru.”
She also said that it is not easy for any woman to make such disclosures. "By staying silent, I could have avoided the targeting but that would not have been the right thing to do," she added.
Following Ramani’s deposition, she was cross-examined.
During her cross-examination, Ramani told the court that "it is wrong to suggest that she had made the allegations maliciously, deliberately and in bad faith to malign Akbar.”
Akbar's counsel Geeta Luthra asked Ramani whether according to her own 2013 article, there were plenty of opportunities and existing platforms to make allegations of sexual harassment against the complainant prior to 2018.
In response, Ramani said: "This is incorrect. This is wrong to suggest that I did not make these allegations against the complainant prior to 2013 as no such incident ever happened."
"It is wrong to suggest that I didn't name Akbar in my Vogue article since nothing happened. The article and tweets are referring entirely to Akbar," she added.
With IANS inputs