Dhaka, Bangladesh
Indian minister MJ Akbar may resign

'Me Too' scandal

Indian minister MJ Akbar may resign

Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by many women in the wake of ongoing MeToo campaign, could be asked to resign from his post soon, reports the Statesman. According to media reports, Akbar, who is currently in Nigeria, may step down till his name is cleared in the cases of sexual harassment. He is expected to return from his foreign trip on Friday after which he could tender his resignation. It is expected that the minister will resign citing personal reasons. Meanwhile, as more women recounted their alleged accounts of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of Union minister M J Akbar, the Congress demanded either his justified explanation or resignation. The Congress stepped into the swirling storm, asking journalist turned politician Akbar to either resign as minister of state for external affairs or offer a satisfactory explanation to the allegations by women journalists who had worked with him in the past. The government maintained silence with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad refusing to comment when asked to do so in a press conference. "How can he be in the ministry with serious allegations being levelled against him by responsible journalists who worked with him. Let there be an inquiry into it," Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said as three more journalists came forward with their allegations against Akbar. One of them, Ghazala Wahab, detailed the harassment and molestation she faced during her first job in the Asian Age when Akbar was editor. Describing her trauma in graphic detail, Wahab wrote in The Wire that it took her a while to process the abuse and open up about it. "Once, in autumn of 1997, while I was half-squatting over the dictionary, he sneaked up behind me and held me by my waist. I stumbled in sheer fright while struggling to get to my feet. He ran his hands from my breast to my hips. I tried pushing his hands away, but they were plastered on my waist, his thumbs rubbing the sides of my breasts," Wahab recalled. Akbar has come under the media spotlight after many of his former women colleagues accused him of sexual misconduct. The #MeToo movement has intensified in the country with more women recounting their experiences of sexual harassment in the entertainment and media industry. The movement in India started after actor Tanushree Dutta alleged that well-known Bollywood actor Nana Patekar sexually harassed her on the sets of a movie in 2008. Since then, many women have come out in public to share their experiences of harassment.

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