MEA Silent on Sexual Harassment Claim Against MoS MJ Akbar
MEA Silent on Sexual Harassment Claim Against MoS MJ Akbar
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

MEA Silent on Sexual Harassment Claim Against MoS MJ Akbar

As the Me Too movement in India gathers momentum, allegations of sexual assault have surfaced against current Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, in detailed accounts of him violating consent and conducting uncomfortable interviews with female journalists in hotel rooms.

When The Quint approached the Ministry of External Affairs, they refused to comment on this issue. Some other sources in the Ministry said that “no action has been initiated in the matter as of now.”

The women who have come out leveling allegations against Akbar have mentioned that he, a senior journalist at the time, would conduct interviews in hotel rooms and offer women his bed and alcohol.

Also Read : MoS MJ Akbar Named in #MeToo; Sushma Swaraj Dodges Question

In her piece titled “To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world” published in October last year, a woman has alleged that “Akbar is an expert on obscene phone calls, texts, inappropriate compliments and not taking no for an answer.”

“You know how to pinch, pat, rub, grab and assault. Speaking up against you still carries a heavy price that many young women cannot afford to pay,” the article reads.

Also Read : #MeToo: Tanmay Bhat, Khamba to “Temporarily Step Away” from AIB

While the article at the time of publishing did not mention the name of harasser in question, the woman who penned the piece confirmed her allegation and named MJ Akbar.

Another woman journalist has also said that she was called to Akbar's hotel room for an interview for Asian Age, in Kolkata's Taj Bengal in 1995. She clarifies that he didn't actually "do" anything, but that "the whole experience of an interview sitting on a bed in a hotel room followed by an invitation to come over for a drink that evening was rattling and deeply uncomfortable". She declined the job offer.

Also Read : #MeToo in India’s Newsrooms; MJ Akbar, KR Sreenivas Among Accused

Several others have also replied on the Twitter thread expressing a lack of surprise at the number of times such incidents have been mentioned accusing Akbar.

Also Read : Listen & Rethink: A Personal Checklist To Navigate A #MeToo Moment

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