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The chief business editor of NPR, Pallavi Gogoi, the accused editor turned politician MJ Akbar for raping her 23 years ago. At that time, in 1994, she was working at MJ Akbar’s newspaper named as Asian Age when he first sexually assaulted her.
Pallavi Gogoi alleged in a first-person article in The Washington Post on 3rd November that former Union Minster MJ Akbar raped her in 1994 at the time she was working with him at the Asian Age. On the other hand, MJ Akbar’s lawyer Sandeep Kapur denied all allegations by Pallavi Gogoi. He told the paper that ‘My client MJ Akbar states that these incidents and allegations are false and specifically denied. ‘
What Pallavi Gogoi wrote in her article?
My statement: pic.twitter.com/7xoADdIHoX
— Pallavi Gogoi (@pgogoi) November 2, 2018
In her article in The Washing ton Post, yesterday Pallavi Gogoi, the chief business editor of NPR, wrote at that time she was just 22 years old when she joined Asian Age. At that time M J Akbar was the editor in chief. She wrote ‘working in New Delhi under M J Akbar; we were star struck.’ Pallavi Gogoi said that Akbar often shouted at his employees; however, she accepted his verbal abuse as she was ‘learning from the best’ at that time.
Pallavi Gogoi then was made editor of op-ed page in 1994, which was ‘a big responsibility at such a young age.’ Pallavi Gogoi then alleged that she had gone into M J Akbar’s office to show him the page when he, all of a sudden lunged to kiss her. Gogoi wrote that ‘I reeled ‘and walked out of his office. She also told her friend about this shocking incident.
After this, in her article, Pallavi Gogoi also revealed about one more shocking incident of sexual assault which she faced when she was in Mumbai. At that time she was in Mumbai to help launch a magazine. In Mumbai, M J Akbar called her to his hotel room to see the layouts. She added that ‘the time he again came close to me to kiss me, and I fought and pushed him away. He also scratched my face as I ran away.’ Pallavi Gogoi also claimed that when she returned back to Delhi, M J Akbar threatened her to kick out of her from the job in case she resisted him again.
After this incident in Mumbai M J Akbar once again invited her to his hotel room in Jaipur to discuss a story on which she was working at that time. When Pallavi Gogoi went to his hotel room, Akbar ripped off her clothes and raped her. She tried fighting Akbar; however, he was physically more powerful. She added that ‘I didn’t tell anybody about this then and I blamed myself. Instead of reporting to the police, I filled with shame.’
For months M J Akbar continues his advances and ‘continued to coerce me, for few months he constantly defile me, verbally, sexually and emotionally.’ Pallavi Gogoi alleged that she covered the1994 elections in December and regarding which she travelled all across Karnataka, away from Delhi office. Following this election, M J Akbar told her that he would send her to US ‘as a reward’.
On this decision made by Akbar, Pallavi Gogoi thought that this abuse would stop once she moved. She added that ‘except the truth was that Akbar was sending her away so that I could have no defences. He moved me so that he could prey on me whenever he visited the city where I would be posted’.
Pallavi Gogoi also alleged that M J Akbar hit her and even threw things on her when he saw her talking to a male colleague in London. She also told two of her friends regarding this incident. Following this incident, M J Akbar asked Pallavi Gogoi to return back to Mumbai, but she refused and said to quit her job at the Asian Age and moved to New York permanently. In New York, she started working as a reporting assistant at Dow Jones.
Not only Pallavi Gogoi, but 17 women journalist also accused Akbar last month
It was more than a month when MJ Akbar accused of sexual harassment by about 17 women journalists. However, he rejected all allegations and also initiated a defamation case against Priya Ramani, a journalist who was one of the complainants. MJ Akbar also resigned from his post as a minister on 17th October 2018.