#MeToo: Congress asks Akbar to quit; more women accuse him of predatory acts

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New Delhi (IANS): The Congress on October 10 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 leveled 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 behavior 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 ducked media queries on the allegations against Akbar, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on October 10 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 October 9 sought to question why women were coming out with their stories 10 years after the alleged incidents and had dubbed it as the “beginning of wrong practice”.
Meanwhile, three more women journalists came out with allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar.
Journalists Ghazala Wahab, Saba Naqvi and Shutapa Paul narrated their ordeal of working under Akbar. Gazala Wahab wrote a piece in the news website `The Wire’ narrating what she called was her “nightmare.”

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