It is for MJ Akbar to issue statement: Smriti Irani on harassment charges

Union Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday lent her support to the women who have come out to speak of harassment as part of the #MeToo movement in India. She declined to speak on charges against junior foreign minister MJ Akbar and stressed that it was for him “to issue a statement” on the allegations.

At least six women have accused Akbar of harassment when he was a journalist.

“The gentlemen concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue. I appreciate that the media is accosting his female colleagues but I think it is for the gentleman concerned to issue a statement because I was personally not present there,” Smriti Irani, the first union minister to speak on sexual harassment allegations against MJ Akbar, said.

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

MJ Akbar’s boss, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier declined to comment on the allegations.

So far, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi was the only prominent minister to have spoken on the #Metoo groundswell. “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 TV news channel here on Tuesday, according to news agency PTI.

The Congress has already demanded that Akbar either come up with a satisfactory counter to the ...

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