New Delhi : A US-based journalist of Indian origin recently wrote in a blog piece on Washington Post that she had been raped by editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar years ago when he was the Editor-in-Chief at Asian Age. Akbar’s lawyer has reportedly dismissed the accusation as ‘false’.
In her opinion piece for the American news outlet, she writes that the recent accusations levelled against Akbar by other women ‘made my head spin.’ She writes that she was 22 when she began working for Asian Age in a newsroom where a majority of the employees were women. “Working in New Delhi under Akbar, we were star-struck. He was famous, an author of two well-regarded political books and a leading editor. Akbar, who was in his 40s, always made sure we were aware of his superior journalistic skills. He marked our copy with his red-ink-filled Mont Blanc pen, crumpled our printouts and often threw them in the garbage bin, as we shuddered. There was never a day when he didn’t shout at one of us at the top of his voice. We rarely measured up to his standards.”
She recounts that at 23, she became the editor of the op-ed page and it was in late spring or summer of 1994 that the first incident of harassment occurred. “I went to show him the op-ed page I had created with what I thought were clever headlines. He applauded my effort and suddenly lunged to kiss me. I reeled. I emerged from the office, red-faced, confused, ashamed, destroyed,” she writes, adding that she recounted the incident to a colleague who was also a close friend. “The second incident was a few months later, when I was summoned to Bombay to help launch a magazine. He called me to his room at the fancy Taj hotel, again to see the layouts. When he again came close to me to kiss me, I fought him and pushed him away. He scratched my face as I ran away, tears streaming down. That evening, I explained the scratches to a friend by telling her I had slipped and fallen at the hotel.”
She then states that Akbar had even threatened to sack her if she resisted him again.
The third incident, according to her, is when Akbar raped her. Recounting that she had gone to Jaipur for a news report, she writes she was called to Akbar’s hotel room to discuss work. “In his hotel room, even though I fought him, he was physically more powerful. He ripped off my clothes and raped me. Instead of reporting him to the police, I was filled with shame. I didn’t tell anyone about this then. Would anyone have believed me? I blamed myself. Why did I go to the hotel room?”
The woman remembers that the incidents took a massive toll on her. “I was in shreds — emotionally, physically, mentally,” she writes about a certain incident in London when Akbar had allegedly hit her and hurled office stationaries towards her. It is after this that, she writes, she quit the job and re-started her career in the US.
While she reflects back on the time spent in Asian Age with horror, she writes that she is now a US citizen who has re-discovered her love for journalism.
The woman’s re-telling of what reportedly happened with her is likely to come as yet another blow to Akbar who is already facing allegations of harassment from several women who were his juniors at Asian Age. Akbar – who resigned as minister of state for external affairs – has maintained he is innocent and is confident the truth will come to the fore. According to Washington Post, his lawyer has expressly denied charges made against Akbar by the woman.
PM Modi embraces Maldives as new leader Solih takes office, China out of favour
Male/New Delhi: Maldives’ President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih takes office , seeking help from India and the United States to climb out from under a mountain of Chinese debt that his predecessor racked up in a breakneck development of the coral islands.
The surprise defeat of pro-China strongman Abdulla Yameen has opened a window for India, the strategic outpost’s traditional political partner, to regain ground lost to Beijing in their tussle for regional dominance.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the highest ranking visitor at the inauguration at the national soccer stadium in the capital Male. By contrast, China’s highest-ranking attendee will be Culture and Tourism Minister Luo Shugang.
“I will convey to the new Maldivian government … the desire of my government to work closely for realisation of their developmental priorities, especially in areas of infrastructure, health care, connectivity and human resource development,” the Prime Minister said in a post on Facebook.
PM Modi’s presence signals the end of years of frosty relations because of Yameen’s embrace of China, a relationship that had deepened India’s anxieties about being encircled by countries leaning towards Beijing.
In Sri Lanka, an island nation to the southeast of India, the rivalry between New Delhi and Beijing has been one of the triggers for a political crisis in recent weeks.
The low-key Solih, a veteran lawmaker, has promised an “India first” policy in the Maldives, saying the small nation of a little over 400,000 people needs solid ties with its immediate neighbour.
His team is also reviewing millions of dollars of investments from China, as well as the related debt that the country has run up from Chinese lenders and how to restructure it.
Solih has said investigations will be launched to find out what happened and fix accountability, Adam Azim, a member of his transition committee, told reporters.
“We were led to believe it’s about USD 1.5 billion, the Chinese debt, but it could be worse,” said another member of Solih’s top economic team, which has been holding discussions with finance ministry officials during the transition following the election in September.
He said the team had already reached out to India, the United States and Saudi Arabia for financial assistance so it could tackle the debt.
“We straightaway need 200-300 million dollars to kick start the budgetary support,” the adviser said.
Debt of USD 1.5 billion would be more than a quarter of the country’s annual gross domestic product. Another member of the incoming president’s economic team said firm proposals for assistance had been discussed with Indian and US officials.
Cyclone Gaja hits Tamil Nadu, 30 killed, many homeless
Chennai: When ‘Gaja’ hovered over the Bay of Bengal near Nagapattinam district for the past one week, the public and all government stakeholders did little realise its ferocity.
With 30 persons dead, heavy winds uprooting thousands of trees in the delta districts and collapsed power lines, ‘Gaja’ tore into districts like Nagapattinam, Cudd-alore, Ramanathapuram, Pudukkottai and Tiruvarur districts. Nagapattinam district bore the major brunt of the storm.
‘Gaja’, played hide and seek for over a week and finally struck with winds speeds touching 110 kmph, as earlier warned by the Indian Meteorological Department and Regional Meteorological Centre, which were closely monitoring the situation throughout the day. Both agencies kept updating revenue officials about ‘Gaja’ trail.
Revenue officials who have had kept their eyes peeled over the stormy development, had quickly evacuated around 81,000 people to safety across the delta districts. The storm did not spare livestock, as a huge numbers of cattle were killed across these districts.
The IMD, in its bulletin, said that the cyclone made landfall between 12.30 am and 2.30 am, after which it trundled on its way westwards, and is slowly poised to weaken.
Further, districts like Pudukkottai, Tiruchy and Ramanathapuram had on Thursday and Friday mornings, received mild rain.
LED TV, coconut water and more: Inspection reveals Unitech directors ‘enjoying’ Tihar jail
New Delhi: LED TV, coconut water, crates of mineral water, badminton rackets and household items were among the prohibited things found in the prison cell of Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay, lodged in Tihar Jail for allegedly cheating home buyers.
This was communicated to the Delhi High Court by Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar, who carried out inspection on September 4 following complaints from other inmates that Chandra brothers and others jailed for white collar crimes were enjoying “luxurious lifestyle”.
He said in a report that the circumstances indicated “corruption” and “grave misuse of power” on the part of DG Prisons and Tihar Jail officials.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao on Friday issued notice to the AAP government, Director General (DG) Prisons and senior officials of Tihar Jail seeking their stand on the matter by February 1, 2019.
In the report, Kumar-II has recommended that an FIR be registered against DG Prisons and officials of Tihar Jail as such activities also pose an “extra burden on the public exchequer”.
He has said that apart from household amenities, including mattresses, mustard oil, foot-mats and stools, in their cell, the brothers also enjoyed a separate “office” room having a computer with internet, a printer as well as eatables and Aquafina mineral water.
On the brothers’ claim that they had bought the Aquafina mineral water from the jail canteen, the judicial officer found that only Bisleri was sold there.
Apart from that, the steel nets in the barracks housing the Chandra brothers were covered with blankets and boards “to avoid smell or outer air” from going into their cell, the report said.
It also said that such facilities cannot be provided to any inmate without the “involvement” and “knowledge” of the DG Prisons and other officials of Tihar Jail and proved as “positive” the complaint made by 25 inmates of Tihar Jail in their letter.
The report also indicates that the jail officials had told the ASJ that the letter was written by the inmates to pressurise them into providing extra facilities to the other prisoners which was not permissible under the jail manual.
The report also said that some of the complainant inmates were shifted to Mandoli Jail after they had sent the letter.
The High Court took suo motu cognisance of the report and the letter written by the inmates and turned it into a public interest litigation.
The inmates in their letter had claimed that while those arrested for financial crimes, like the Chandra brothers, were “enjoying an extra luxurious life in Tihar Jail” with a “separate VIP ward” for them, other prisoners were allegedly not getting sufficient food, drinking water, fruits and other necessities, including medical treatment.
However, those arrested for white collar crimes were getting specialised medical treatment for even minor ailments, had access to smart phones, could regularly communicate and meet with family members without hindrance, have home cooked meals, watch TV, play badminton and enjoyed a “luxurious life”, the letter said.
Subscribe to our mailing list and get breaking news and updates to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.