Monday, September 23, 2019

Dharma Poll: M J Akbar Sues Journalist Priya Ramani

Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar, who has had a long and distinguished career as editor at various English language media outlets such as The Telegraph, The Asian Age, and The Sunday Guardian has filed a defamation suit against another journalist, Priya Ramani. According to the report published in Outlook magazine,

The Minister of State for External Affairs has accused Ramani of “wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously” defaming him and has sought her prosecution under the penal provision on defamation.

Priya Ramani writes a regular column at The Mint, part of the Hindustan Times group. She is the wife of another journalist, Samar Halarnkar who in 2012 was embroiled in a plagiarism controversy. Priya Ramani has also been a controversial figure on social media for her candid views on various aspects related to Hindu Deities, customs etc. She has also been known to have openly called for “hunting down” Twitter users to their workplaces.  Some screenshots are given below.


Equally, a floodgate of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against M J Akbar has been opened with at least thirteen women accusing the minister of such misconduct. A clamour was raised demanding his resignation. However, what is also noteworthy in Priya Ramani’s accusation is the following, as reported in The Statesman: 

“Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article. She did not however name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a Tweet: ‘Never named him because he didn’t ‘do’ anything.’,” Akbar said.

Meanwhile, one of the supporters of Priya Ramani came out in her defence in rather colourful language.

Given this background, this poll is an attempt to arrive at a semblance of coherence amidst the tremendous noise surrounding this issue.

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Writer, author, and translator. Author of the bestselling "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." English translator of Dr. S L Bhyrappa's blockbuster Kannada novel, "Aavarana".

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