Despite the growing voices calling for Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar to quit from his position, following the number of allegations against him of harassment, the government is still very much quiet on this matter.
Ever since women have found the courage to speak out following the #MeToo movement, a number of cases pertaining to MJ Akbar's misbehavior, when he was a journalist, have popped out.
Union minister Smriti Irani, when asked to speak on this topic, did not take any stand, and instead put the onus on the minister himself to defend the allegations against him. She said,
"I will only say this that the gentleman concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue. I appreciate the media is accosting his female colleague but I think it is for him to issue a statement, not for me, because I was personally not present there. But I have said again and again that anyone speaking out, in no way should be shamed."
Prior to this, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi also hinted at a need for an investigation into the allegations by the women on the back of the #MeToo campaign. Though, she did not name MJ Akbar directly when questioned about it.
"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," she told a TV news channel on Tuesday.
Before that, the first prominent leader in the government to be questioned on the matter was External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Earlier this week, she was quizzed by a journalist to give her view on the allegations against the MoS. But she did not comment on the matter, and instead walked away.
Even the MEA sources did not comment on the allegations against the minister, indicating that the matter was of a 'personal nature', and that it had occurred prior to him becoming a part of the government.
A total of 10 women have come out and charged allegations against MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, during the time he was a journalist.