Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi finally reacted to the allegations of sexual harassment allegations against Minister of State for External Affairs and former journalist MJ Akbar. Maneka Gandhi said the allegations of sexual harassment against anybody should be taken seriously as women are often scared to speak out.
"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 a TV news channel on Tuesday.
She said when women have started talking, their allegations should be taken seriously.
"Women are scared to speak out because they think people would make fun of them and doubt their character but now when they are speaking out we should take action against each and every allegation," she said.
MJ Akbar hasn't responded to any of the allegations against him so far as he is currently attending India-West Africa conclave in Abuja Nigeria.
This comes after Minister of State for External Affairs and former journalist MJ Akbar has been named in the #MeToo campaign by several woman journalists.
Priya Ramani was the first journalist, who called out MJ Akbar and accused him of inappropriate behaviour. After her post, several other women spoke up and accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment. With her tweet, Ramani had shared a link to her 2017 article, wherein she accused him of behaving inappropriately. Though, back then Ramani didn’t name him. However, in her tweet, she outed Akbar and also spilled the beans on why she didn’t reveal his name when she wrote the article.
In her article, Ramani wrote than an editor of a leading publication insisted to interview her in his hotel room, where he offered her a drink and at one point even asked her to sit closer to him. Soon after, she called out Akbar on Twitter, several other journalists followed suit and narrated their stories involving MJ Akbar. Most of the women have detailed incidents wherein the former journalist would call them to his plush hotel room for interviews, offer alcohol and ask/say unwarranted questions and behave inappropriately.
Earlier on Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ducked questions on whether the government will take any action against the Union minister.
MJ Akbar has been the editor of several leading newspapers like 'The Telegraph', 'Asian Age' and 'The Sunday Guardian'.
MeToo campaign which is gaining strength in India by the day officially started after Tanushree Dutta accused veteran actor Nana Patekar of sexual misconduct. Her allegations opened a floodgate with women coming out and naming sexual predators across all walks of life.
(With PTI Inputs)