New Delhi: As the #MeToo movement gains momentum, 19 journalists have come out in support of Priya Ramani against her sexual harassment allegations against the minister of state for external affairs, MJ Akbar.

19 former and current employees of The Asian Age on Tuesday have come out in support of Ramani and have urged the court to hear their testimonies against Akbar. Some of them claim to have suffered sexual harassment by the minister while others have been a witness to it. 

This comes two days after Akbar said that all allegations against him are lies and launched a defamation case against Ramani. 

The journalists put out a statement that read: “What Mr Akbar has demonstrated through his legal actions is his refusal to introspect, acknowledge or atone for his actions that have caused immense pain and indeed harm to many many women over the years. He himself, in the meanwhile, continues to enjoy enormous power and privilege as a minister and Member of Parliament.”

Akbar issued a statement on Sunday, dismissing all allegations against him as false. 

In the statement given to ANI, he said, “The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad. Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections. Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action.”

He hinted at political vendetta and said, “Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge. These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill”.

Akbar then proceeded to file a civil defamation case against Ramani.

The 19 journalists who joined Ramani’s fight for justice include Meenal Baghel, Manisha Pande, Tushita Patel, Kanika Gahlaut, Suparna Sharma, Ramola Talwar Badam, Kaniza Gazari, Malavika Banerjee, AT Jayanthi, Hamida Parkar, Jonali Buragohain, Sanjari Chatterjee Meenakshi Kumar, Sujata Dutta Sachdeva, Hoihnu Hauzel, Reshmi Chakraborty, Kushalrani Gulab, Aisha Khan and Kiran Manral.

Statement issued by the 19 journalists:

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