The Guardian

India's #MeToo backlash: accusers battle intimidation, threats and lawsuits

Six months after a wave of accusations against some of the country’s most powerful men, many women are now embroiled in litigation
A demonstrator who was arrested during a protest over the dismissal of a sexual harassment complaint against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Photograph: Altaf Hussain/Reuters

Onlookers crowded against the walls of the Delhi courtroom for the testimony of Mobashar Jawed Akbar, India’s former junior foreign minister, and the highest-profile man to quit his job after Indian women started sharing their #MeToo stories last year.

Akbar, 68, has denied accusations by more than 10 women of sexual misconduct. Over two hours in court, an antagonistic audience hissed and tittered as he answered questions on the stand.

But Akbar was not the one on trial. Instead, it was was one of his accusers: journalist Priya Ramani, who has been charged with criminal defamation, an offence carrying a maximum two-year jail sentence. Akbar quit his job last year to pursue the defamation charges.

The case, which has its next hearing on 20 May, is emblematic of the challenges

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