- Journalist accuses MJ Akbar of sexual harassment
- Congress says minister must respond to allegations or resign
- "There should be an investigation," Maneka Gandhi told India Today
Union Minister MJ Akbar, accused by women journalists of sex harassment in a spiraling #MeToo movement in India, should resign and be investigated, the Congress said today, as the government remained silent on the allegations against the editor-turned-BJP leader.
"Union minister MJ Akbar should either give a satisfactory answer to the allegations or he should resign. We demand an inquiry into the matter," Congress parliamentarian Jaipal Reddy said.
MJ Akbar, junior Foreign Minister in the government, has been called out by at least six women. After whispers around an unnamed editor, the first to take his name was journalist Priya Ramani, who had written a year ago in Vogue India sharing her account of an incident with him, after the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted in the US.
Two senior ministers have refused to react - MJ Akbar's boss, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, ducked questions and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said tersely at a cabinet briefing, "That is not the topic right now".
Maneka Gandhi, the union minister for women and child development, was the only BJP leader to call for an investigation. "There should be an investigation. Men in position of power often do this. This applies to media, politics and seniors working in companies. Now that women have started speaking out, we should take it seriously," Maneka Gandhi told news channel India Today.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said silence is not an option. "We would like to hear from both the minister in question and the Prime Minister on this issue," said Mr Tewari.
MJ Akbar, who is believed to be in Nigeria, has not yet reacted to the controversy.
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