The Congress Tuesday demanded a probe into allegations of sexual harassment against Union minister M J Akbar even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj evaded questions whether the government will take any action against him.
As the #MeToo campaign gathered momentum in India, some women journalists have come out and accused Akbar, a former editor and now the Minister of State for External Affairs, of sexually harassing them during his stint as journalist. There was no reaction available from Akbar on these allegations against him.
When asked about these charges against her ministerial colleague and whether there will be an internal inquiry against him, Swaraj evaded the question from reporters on the sidelines of an event here. Reacting on the issue, the Congress demanded that the matter should be investigated.
“It is an extremely serious matter and the minister concerned needs to speak up. Silence cannot be a way out. This matter should be investigated. We would like to hear from both the minister in question and the Prime Minister on this issue,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.
At a regular party briefing, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was also asked a volley of questions on the issue but he declined to respond.
He said his mandate was to speak on the specific issue of the Congress role in allegedly fomenting violence against migrants in Gujarat.
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 started in India 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.