Demanding an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations levied on Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar, the Congress on Wednesday said the BJP minister should step down in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Addressing a press conference, Congress leader Jaipal Reddy said Akbar must either offer a satisfactory explanation or resign forthwith.
At least six women journalists have come on record to accuse MoS Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he worked as a newspaper editor. Akbar, on a visit to Nigeria with a trade delegation, did not respond to an email, calls and WhatsApp messages sent to him seeking his comment.
He is the first political public figure to feature in the growing list of men — so far largely from the media, film and entertainment — named in India’s own #MeToo movement that is gathering momentum since it broke on social media last week.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari had told reporters that it is an “extremely serious matter and the minister concerned needs to speak up”. He had also said that “silence cannot be a way out” and that the matter should be investigated.
The BJP did not respond to these allegations. When Akbar’s senior, Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj was asked by a reporter to comment on the issue, she did not.