Union Minister M J Akbar returned here Sunday from a tour of Africa amid mounting demand for his resignation over allegations of sexual harassment by a number of women journalists in the last few days. The Minister of State for External Affairs evaded a barrage of questions from the media over the allegations and only said he would issue a statement later on.
“There will be a statement later on,” he told reporters at the airport.
Multiple women in the last few days have come out with accounts of alleged sexual harassment by Akbar when he was a journalist as the #MeToo movement swept social media, bringing to fore sordid tales of sexual harassment by influential men in different walks of life.
Akbar’s name cropped up on social media earlier this week as part of the #MeToo movement and since then pressure has been increasing on the government to sack him.
The Congress has already demanded Akbar’s ouster. There was an indication by the BJP that it is likely to take a clear stand on allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar once he explains his position upon his return.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party has maintained a studied silence on the matter so far, party sources have said the charges against him are serious, and his continuance as a minister is no longer guaranteed.
A final call will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the sources said. A group of journalists Saturday held a protest here expressing solidarity with their women colleagues who have demanded proper implementation of the prevention of sexual harassment act to ensure dignity at workplace.
The protesting journalists also sought immediate action against those facing allegations of sexual misconduct. They also demanded the removal of Akbar from the union council of ministers.