Congress: MJ Akbar should explain or resign

Updated: Oct 11, 2018, 10:26 IST | Agencies

As women scribes accuse the Union minister of sexual harassment, the party demands an inquiry into the allegations

Congress: MJ Akbar should explain or resign
M J Akbar. Pic/PTI

The Congress said on Wednesday Union minister, M J Akbar, must either offer a satisfactory explanation on the allegations of sexual harassment against him or immediately resign. The party also demanded an inquiry into his conduct.

As the #MeToo campaign gathered momentum in India, some women journalists have come out and accused Akbar, a former editor and now the minister of state for external affairs, of sexually harassing them during his stint as a journalist.

Congress spokesperson, S Jaipal Reddy, in a press conference, said, "I think M J Akbar must either offer a satisfactory explanation or resign forthwith. How can he be in the ministry with serious allegations being levelled against him by responsible journalists, who worked with him. Let there be an inquiry into it. We demand an inquiry into M J Akbar's conduct." Reddy also questioned External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's silence on the issue, saying she is evading responsibility and is not prepared to comment on her subordinate.

Suhel Seth
Suhel Seth

Now, it's Suhel Seth
As the #MeToo campaign gathers momentum, a woman has accused author Suhel Seth of being a "creep". According to the WhatsApp messages that she has shared with another person, Seth had invited her (17-year-old in 2010) to join him for drinks at his hotel room through a DM and had also written "big wild kiss" at the end of the last message.

Government continues to maintain silence
The government on Wednesday continued to maintain silence on the allegations of sexual misconduct against Union Minister M J Akbar even as the Congress sought his resignation. Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad refused to answer any question other than those pertaining to the Cabinet decisions, including that on Akbar and the #MeToo campaign.

Another 'scary' experience comes to the fore
Just a day after a journalist spoke about an article that revealed how M J Akbar called her for a job interview in his hotel room, where both bed and drinks were ready, The Wire has come out with the account of another journalist, who had faced similar harassment in the hands of Akbar during her tenure at the Asian Age in 1997 when he was the editor. Talking about one such encounter in his office, she says, "Sometimes he would make me sit opposite him while he was writing his weekly column. If he needed to look up a word in the dictionary placed on a low tripod, he would ask me. Once, while I was half-squatting over the dictionary, he sneaked up behind me and held me by my waist. He ran his hands from my breast to hips. I tried pushing his hands away, but his thumbs were rubbing the sides of my breasts"

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