Congress says MJ Akbar, accused of harassment, should respond or resign

The Congress also targeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her silence on the issue.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2018 16:25 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service, New Delhi
The Congress asked former Editor and Union Minister MJ Akbar to either come clean in the wake of sexual harassment charges against him or step down as a Minister(PTI)

The Congress on Wednesday stepped up its attack on junior external affairs minister MJ Akbar over allegations of sexual harassment, saying that he should either come up with a satisfactory counter to the charges or resign.

“We demand an inquiry into the matter,” Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said after the four women accused the union minister of harassment as part of the #MeToo movement in India. Neither Akbar nor the government has responded to the charges.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj did not answer yesterday when asked to comment on the charges against her junior minister. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was addressing a media briefing on cabinet decisions on Wednesday, also declined comment. “Today the issue is cabinet decisions, please concentrate on that,” he said.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi is the only prominent minister to have spoken on the #Metoo groundswell.

“Men who are in positions of power often do this. And it applies to the media as well as to politics or senior personnel in companies,” Gandhi told TV news channel here on Tuesday, according to news agency PTI.

She said the allegations should be taken seriously since women had now started speaking out.

She said women were scared to speak out because they think people would make fun of them and doubt their character. But now that they are speaking out, “we should take action against each and every allegation”.

The #MeToo movement, which started from the United States where Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct last year, has snowballed in India too after actor Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment on the sets of a film in 2008.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 16:18 IST