In what seemed a big victory for the #MeToo India campaign, the junior minister for foreign affairs of India, MJ Akbar had reportedly resigned. This could have been the first significant outcome of this public campaign of outing names of prominent personalities who have harassed or assaulted or exploited female colleagues. But he didn’t resign. Instead he has threatened legal action.
Union minister M J Akbar, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment by a number of women journalists landed in India on Sunday. The demands for his resignation have escalated over the last week as more and more cases came out. Akbar has been accused of sexual misconduct by seven women journalists on social media. Priya Ramani, Ghazala Wahab and many others have come out and spoken.
As the #MeToo movement continues to unveil big names from across industries in India, Akbar’s is the biggest names in power who was accused of assault and harassment and he remained in the spotlight. While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued silence on his resignation till now, the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have vastly criticized his behaviour. “Seven women journalists have come forward recounting their experience of sexual harassment and unacceptable behaviour from M.J. Akbar when he was the editor of various newspapers,” the CPI (M) said in a statement.
“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,” Smriti Irani, the Union minister of textiles, told journalists in Mumbai, Hindustan Times reported.
The Minister’s resignation talk was in the air with a hashtag #AkbarMustGo. “There will be a statement later on,” Akbar told reporters as he came out of Delhi airport, news agency ANI reported.
— ANI (@ANI) October 14, 2018
Earlier minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi has asked for an investigation against him.
It may be so that the #MeToo campaign has taken off suddenly in India, nearly a year after it exploded in United States but it’s been very powerful in leading to actions and removal of many established personalities in a short period of time.