After 20 women — who were part of the first few teams set up by former journalist MJ Akbar post the launch of The Asian Age in 1994 — wrote a petition in support of Priya Ramani (the first woman who accused Akbar of sexual harassment), a few men who were also part of the his newsrooms have spoken up in solidarity.
Author Rashid Kidwai is one of them. He tweeted that he was in The Asian Age's political bureau from 1993 to 1996 and that he believes the accounts of the women who have shared their stories.
Kidwai told Firstpost, "My attempt is to express solidarity with my colleagues. It is important to believe in women who have mustered the courage to speak on such a personal matter. It is a serious issue that must be addressed and there are so many voices out there that should be heard with a degree of seriousness."
However, he declined to answer if he was aware of any act of sexual harassment by Akbar. "I would not like to get into the specifics as it is a legal matter," he said.
Kamlesh Singh, the editor of India Today Online, also expressed his support on Twitter:
I worked at the Asian Age with @TushitaPatel @prernabindra @ghazalawahab @SuparnaSharma @RuthsDavid @kanikagahlaut @kadambarim @writemeenal.
I trust them and believe every word they have said and stand with @priyaramani, who now faces the might of a minister of state. #TimesUp
— Kamlesh Singh | Bana de Lohagarh (@kamleshksingh) October 17, 2018
Writer and researcher Akshaya Mukul too shared the sentiments with Singh and wrote on Twitter that he "trusts each and every word" of these women.
I too worked in Asian Age features team, 1994-95. I know what many women colleagues had to go through. I trust each and every word of @ghazalawahab @SuparnaSharma @writemeenal @TushitaPatel @priyaramani and endless others who might recount their harrowing experience #MeToo https://t.co/j6m1YpVF1c
— Akshaya Mukul (@Akshayamukul) October 17, 2018
Many women have so far shared their ordeal of suffering sexual harassment at the hands of Akbar. But Akbar has categorically denied the allegations and termed them as "false, fabricated and spiced up".
On Monday, he filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani. The case is listed for hearing in Delhi's Patiala House Court on Thursday.
Updated Date: Oct 17, 2018 18:56 PM