Smriti Irani: It is for M J Akbar to respond on sexual harassment allegations
Union Textiles Minister says he is 'better positioned to speak on this issue' even as another minister defends him
Amid sexual harassment allegations against her ministerial colleague M J Akbar, Union minister Smriti Irani on Thursday said it was for him to respond to the charges even as she favoured justice for the "ladies who are speaking out". As the #MeToo campaign gathered momentum, some women journalists have accused Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, of sexually harassing them during his stint as editor in two newspapers.
"The gentleman concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue," Irani told reporters here while responding to questions over allegations against Akbar.
Akbar, whose resignation is being demanded by opposition political parties, has not reacted to the allegations.
"I appreciate that the media is accosting his (former) female colleagues but I think it is for the gentleman concerned to issue a statement (and) not for me because I was personally not present there," Irani said. She urged people not to mock the women who are speaking out against the harassment.
Bahuguna defends Akbar
UP tourism minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi defended Akbar saying the demand for his resignation should be raised only after a thorough investigation. Joshi said, "The question is not about the resignation. Question is when I accuse someone it should be proved. Every woman has a right to accuse, and investigation should also be conducted. Women have presented their versions, hence men too have the right to present theirs."
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