US-Based Journalist Accuses MJ Akbar Of Rape Says, "I Was In Shreds"

US-Based Journalist Accuses MJ Akbar Of Rape Says, "I Was In Shreds"

New Delhi: MJ Akbar, the politician who had to resign from his post, over sex harassment allegations against him, has now been accused of rape by a US-based journalist who worked with him over two decades ago. The editor-turned-politician has dismissed the allegations as false, his lawyer told The Washington Post, which has published the first person account of Pallavi Gogoi, an editor at the National Public Radio (NPR).

Pallavi Gogoi said that MJ Akbar was the Editor-In-Chief at The Asian Age when she joined the newspaper as a "22-year-old star-struck journalist".

Ms Gogoi said that she was "mesmerized by his use of language and his turns of phrase" and took all the "verbal abuse" as part of the learning process.

She says, she soon became the editor of the op-ed page, but ended up paying a "very big price" for the break.

Recounting the horror when she had gone to show him the op-ed page, she writes, "He applauded my effort and suddenly lunged to kiss me. I reeled. I emerged from the office, red-faced, confused, ashamed, destroyed."

The second incident was a few months later, when during the launch of a magazine, "he called me to his room at the fancy Taj hotel (in Mumbai), 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."

It was followed by another call from her boss, this time from a hotel in Jaipur. "... even though I fought him, he was physically more powerful," she alleges.

The cycle of abuse and assertion of power continued when he "defiled me sexually, verbally, emotionally", she adds.

Pallavi Gogoi says she had confided in her friends, who were also allegedly assaulted by the author-editor. "I was in shreds -- emotionally, physically, mentally."

"I am writing this to support the many women who have come out to tell their truth. I am writing this for my teenage daughter and son. So they know to fight back when anyone victimizes them. So they know never to victimize anyone," she said.