Despite a number of journalists coming out in open and revealing that they had faced harassment by MJ Akbar in the past, sources in Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment on the matter against the Minister of State for External affairs while indicating that the allegations against him 'are of personal nature'.
The accusations on MJ Akbar pertain to the time when he was working as a journalist. Sources from within the MEA has stated that the incident is of a time much before he was associated with the government, hence, they will not comment on this issue.
Earlier the in the day, two senior personnel in the government also refused to speak on the allegations charged at the MoS for External Affairs. First it was EAM Sushma Swaraj. When media quizzed her if the authorities will take any action on the accusations, she did not respond and walked away.
Then it was Union minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. Despite being one the ardent supporters of the #MeToo campaign, said 'I got no comment on this' when asked by Republic TV on this matter.
Several women journalists took to Twitter and revealed their horrors of the past, naming MJ Akbar in it. The first of the lot was Priya Ramani, who accused him of inappropriate behavior.
“I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story. Never named him because he didn’t “do” anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator—maybe they’ll share,” she wrote 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.
One incident in particular was horrifying, wherein a journalist, who chose to remain anonymous, alleged that ‘the editor’ invited her to his hotel room, insisted her to drink and later groped, at which point, the woman pushed him and rushed out of the room.
MJ Akbar has been the editor of several leading newspapers like 'The Telegraph', 'Asian Age' and 'The Sunday Guardian'.