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Politics
11 Oct 2018

Amid #MeToo storm, government weighing in on MJ Akbar's option

What will happen to MJ Akbar?

Amid the array of sexual harassment charges leveled against MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar, the government is weighing its options, IE reports quoting sources.

Till now seven journalists have accused Akbar of sexual misconduct when he was the editor of various media organizations.

Notably, Akbar is on a visit to Nigeria for trade delegation, and has not addressed the issues.

Here's more about this.

In context

What will happen to MJ Akbar?
Government will take call about Akbar's continuance soon, sources claim

Decision

Government will take call about Akbar's continuance soon, sources claim

A source told IE the government is dedicated to gender equality, and hence these allegations are embarrassing.

The Centre is apparently pondering over Akbar's continuance in the ministry, and the final call will be taken after he returns next week.

Meanwhile, a senior BJP leader said none of the allegations are related to his political career. He also reminded no FIR has been filed yet.

Reception

Though quiet over Akbar's allegations, women leaders support #MeToo

Notably, women leaders of the BJP have supported the #MeToo movement but haven't spoken about Akbar's allegations.

Union Minister Uma Bharti said this movement will bring change in the workplace atmosphere.

"Women can work without fear and they can come out if anyone tries to harm them because of their gender," she said adding men will be more careful now.

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Want to start 'I did it' campaign for men: Bharti

"I want everyone to stand by women who have come out disclosing the names of these men who had made their lives difficult. I would like then to start another campaign "I did it' .. they should be proud of what they did," Bharti said.

Opposition attack

Meanwhile, Congress wants Akbar to either explain or resign

Bharti's opinion was seconded by BJP MPs Poonam Mahajan and Meenakshi Lekhi. But the Congress wants more than that.

S Jaipal Reddy said either Akbar should give a satisfactory explanation or must resign.

"If Justice (Brett) Kavanaugh in America could be asked to answer for something that he did in his youth, Akbar did whatever he did much later in his life," he added.

Harassment charges

The details of harassment are disturbing

Till now seven female journalists have accused Akbar of sexual misconduct. The details of their account are horrifying, to say the least.

One journalist wrote he pulled her bra strap once, while in a detailed account for The Wire, journalist Ghazala Wahab said he kissed her forcefully, and it was his harassment which drove her to quit the job.

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