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Coercion not ‘consensual’: US journalist counters MJ Akbar on rape remark

MJ Akbar on Friday denied accusations of rape by Pallavi Gogoi, claiming he had a consensual relationship with her.

SNS | New Delhi |

Pallavi Gogoi, a US-based journalist, who accused former Union minister MJ Akbar of raping her 24 years ago, on Friday refuted the minister’s claims that they had a ‘consensual’ relationship while working at the Asian Age.

She strongly countered Akbar’s claims saying that the relationship was not consensual but was based on coercion and abuse of power.

“Rather than take responsibility for his abuse of me and his serial predation of other young women who have courageously come forward, Akbar has insisted – just like other infamous serial sexual abusers of women – that the relationship was consensual. It was not. A relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual,” Gogoi said in a statement on Twitter.

She further said that she stood by every word in her published account in The Washington Post.

Former union minister MJ Akbar on Friday denied accusations of rape by Pallavi Gogoi, claiming he had a consensual relationship spanning several months with her but it ended “perhaps not on the best note”.

Read | MJ Akbar denies rape charges by US journalist, says it was ‘consensual’

In a separate statement, his wife Mallika Akbar also dismissed Gogoi’s accusations, made in a Washington Post article Friday, as a “lie”.

Two weeks after MJ Akbar resigned as Union minister of state for external affairs following multiple allegations of sexual harassment, a US-based journalist, in a column in the Washington Post, had accused the minister of rape.

Read | Former Asian Age editor, a US journalist now, accuses MJ Akbar of rape

In a strong write-up, former Asian Age journalist Pallavi Gogoi alleged that she had to “pay a very big price” for being editor of the op-ed page at the Asian Age at the age of 23.

She went on to recount the horror as she relayed how she was allegedly assaulted, verbally and physically, on various occasions.

However, Akbar’s lawyer Sandeep Kapur told The Washington Post that the allegations were false.

As the #MeToo movement gained momentum, 20 women journalists who have worked with ‘The Asian Age’ newspaper, came out in support of their colleague Priya Ramani who had accused Akbar of sexual harassment.