While junior foreign minister MJ Akbar faces calls for resignation over allegations of sexual harassment during his time as a journalist, a BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh has come out with an appalling statement. Lata Kelkar, the chief of the party’s women’s wing in Madhya Pradesh, has said that she does not consider women journalists so “innocent” that they could be misused by anyone, news agency ANI has reported.
However, Ms Kelkar also said that she welcomed the #MeToo movement – which has seen women come forward with allegations against powerful and influential Indian men of sexual assault or harassment in recent weeks – as it gave strength to women, it reported.
MJ Akbar, a former editor who headed prominent newspapers like The Telegraph and the Asian Age, has been accused of sexually predatory behaviour towards women colleagues, especially newcomers.
So far, his boss, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, has evaded questions on him and so have union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Smriti Irani. Only Maneka Gandhi, the union minister for women and child development, has called for an investigation against Mr Akbar. Opposition parties have demanded that the minister, who is abroad and expected to return on Sunday, resign.
The #MeToo movement in India was sparked by allegations of former actor Tanushree Dutta, who accused veteran Nana Patekar of harassing her on the sets of a film 10 years ago.
It set off a roaring debate on social media, and a thread on Twitter became a forum for #MeToo stories from various fields, sparing no one – film personalities, writers, journalists and entertainers.
(With inputs from ANI)