Akbar should come clean or resign: Congress
Sexual harassment allegations emerge against ex-editor and Union minister M.J. Akbar
New Delhi, 10 October : The Congress on Wednesday asked former Editor and Union Minister M.J. Akbar to either come clean following sexual harassment charges against him or resign. It also sought an independent probe into the charges against Akbar.
“Akbar has a stature as a journalist, apart from being a Minister. He should offer a satisfactory explanation either through a statement or personally, or resign forthwith,” Congress spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy told the media here.
“How can he be in the Ministry with such serious allegations levelled by responsible journalists who have worked with him. Let there be an inquiry. We demand an inquiry against Akbar,” said Reddy.
At least six women journalists have accused Akbar, now the Minister of State for External Affairs, of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he was an Editor.
The Congress also targeted the Modi government, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, for keeping mum on the issue.
“We had hoped that women cutting across political lines will come out in support of these brave women who have now come out and revealed their ordeal and tragic stories. Unfortunately, Sushma Swaraj, to whom many look up to for inspiration, has chosen to stay quiet,” said Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.
“It also raises a finger at the government that talks of women empowerment and safety but maintains a dubious silence on the matter,” she said.
While Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday ducked media queries on the allegations against Akbar, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday refused to answer any question other than those pertaining to Cabinet decisions including on Akbar and the #MeToo campaign.
Chaturvedi also demanded an apology from BJP MP Udit Raj, who on Tuesday sought to question why women were coming out with their stories 10 years after the alleged incidents and dubbed it as the “beginning of wrong practice”.
“We strongly condemn Udit Raj’s shameless comments. But considering the fact that his party (BJP) has refused to take cognisance of the remarks, it can be taken as an endorsement… Udit Raj should be made to apologise,” added Chaturvedi.