Union Minister MJ Akbar, who returned to India today amid calls for his resignation over sexual harassment allegations, strongly denied the charges, calling them "false, fabricated and deeply distressing". He threatened legal action against those who accused him of sexual harassment and said the accusations were politically motivated ahead of elections next year. MJ Akbar, 67, was on an official tour in Nigeria when a dozen women detailed accounts of his alleged sexual misconduct on social media. The accounts became a part of the #MeToo movement which has swept across India in the past few days.
Journalists, including those who collated allegations against him on Twitter, came out in support of the women who alleged misconduct.
Anoo Bhuyan, a journalist with news portal The Wire, said in a tweet, that it was "a different world" for MJ Akbar, using the #TimesUp hashtag, being used by women who allege harassment against them from men in powerful positions.
I've read @mjakbar statement in full.- Anoo Bhuyan (@AnooBhu) October 14, 2018
He seems to think, b'coz there isn't a victim crying about how his abuse left her body ravaged with a rod sticking out of her throat (tick tick tick...), he is innocent & has impunity.
It's a different world, MJ.
Your time is up.#TimesUp
Maha Siddiqui, another journalist, tweeted saying "the testimony of over half a dozen women pitted against a 2-page statement of one man, speaks volums about how difficult the #MeToo campaign is."
Senior editor Shekhar Gupta took to Twitter as well, saying he was "not surprised by Akbar/BJP brazening it out". He said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, "nobody is made to go under any allegations whatsoever."
Not surprised by Akbar/BJP brazening it out. The most consistent thing about Modi-Shah politics is, nobody is made to go under any allegations whatsoever. Those who jumped to announce Akbar resignation should've googled Kuldip Singh Sengar, BJP MLA in custody for rape & murder- Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) October 14, 2018
Karuna Nundy, a senior lawyer, also tweeted, saying, "Hubris piled on to impunity."
Veteran journalists Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose also tweeted their support for the women who alleged harassment against MJ Akbar.
Sagarika Ghose in a tweet said MJ Akbar "shamed the Indian republic".
"A dozen professional women have an agenda?" Rajdeep Sardesai asked on Twitter.
Why has a storm arisen only before the elections, Is there an agenda asks @mjakbar . A dozen professional women have an agenda? ARE YOU SERIOUS sir? And @PMOIndia conspicuously silent on his mantri! Now, You be the judge..- Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) October 14, 2018
Former Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh also tweeted his outrage. "I used to see you with a lot of respect. Had heard of these incidents before, but I had not believed in them. But now that women have come forward, I had hoped that you would resign and submit to an inquiry, but even you turned out to be a politician," wrote Ashutosh in a tweet in Hindi. "Instead of resigning, MJ Akbar gave a threat. The BJP is silent," he said.
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