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Minister MJ Akbar May Be Asked To Quit Amid #MeToo Allegations: Reports

Outlook 2018-10-11 00:00:00

Veteran journalist and Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, may be asked to quit, according to media reports.

Akbar can be asked to quit the ministry and work for the party, instead, news agency ANI said quoting sources.

Akbar, who is travelling outside India, so far has not commented on the allegations.

NDTV report quoted government sources as saying that Akbar will take a call on whether to resign.

"There is no FIR or formal complaint. These are moral issues and he should take a call," NDTV  said quoting sources.

Since Monday, several women journalists have come out and accused Akbar of sexual harassment.

Journalist Priya Ramani was the first to state on record that Akbar had called her to his hotel room.

Ramani identified Akbar as the editor she had written about in an article in Vogue in October, 2017.

In an article in, journalist Ghazala Wahab has written about her harrowing experience with Akbar at The Asian Age office in the 1990s.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi became the first BJP minister to call for an investigation against Akbar.

"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 a TV news channel on Tuesday when asked about allegations against a “big” politician.

"Women are scared to speak out because they think people would make fun of them and doubt their character but now when they are speaking out we should take action against each and every allegation," she said.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj did not respond when she was asked on about any action against the minister.

Meanwhile, the Congress on Wednesday asked Akbar to either come clean in the wake of sexual harassment charges against him or step down as a Minister. It also sought an independent probe into the charges against him.

"He should either explain the charges though a statement or personally or should resign. The charges are serious and they should be probed independently," Congress spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy told the media.

The #MeToo movement has intensified in the country with more women recounting their experiences of sexual harassment in the entertainment and media industry.