New Delhi: The chief of BJP’s women wing for Madhya Pradesh Lata Kelkar Thursday defended Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar saying that the two journalists, who accused him of sexual misconduct, were at fault too. Kelkar further said that only now the women have understood that it was a sexual harassment and not at the time they were harassed.

“Female journalists are not so innocent that they can be misused. MJ Akbar was a journalist and all the accusers are also journalists. Both were at fault,” Kelkar said. Speaking of the #MeToo movement, she said that it has given courage to the women to speak up but “only now in their understanding has it become harassment.”

On being asked if the Union Minister should resign from his post as Minister of State for External Affairs, she said that it wasn’t for her to decide and the authorities will take the action. When asked what would she have done if the same allegations were levelled against a Congress leader, she said she would have demanded a resignation.

Akbar has been named for sexual harassment by two journalists in the social media. A day after journalist Priya Ramani levelled allegations against Akbar, who is a junior External Affairs Minister, another of his former colleague Prerna Singh Bindra came up with charges of sexual harassment.

DCW chief Swati Maliwal Thursday called for MJ Akbar’s resignation in view of allegations of sexual misconduct and also urged women to speak the truth in the #MeToo campaign. “It is shameful that Akbar continues to be a Minister. Ten women have complained. Are all of them lying? The case should at least be investigated,” she said.

“A movement like #MeToo won’t lose credibility any time in the future…At the same time, it is crucial for women to be true. I would really urge women to tell the truth and only the truth and speak out as much as they can. It is a responsibility on us,” Maliwal added.

While Sushma Swaraj dodged the question on sexual harassment allegations against MJ Akbar, Union Minister Smriti Irani Thursday supported women to gather the courage to come out with their stories of sexual harassment at workplace. Reacting on the accusations of sexual assault against Akbar, Irani said that he himself would be in better position to speak on this issue.

“I appreciate that the media is accosting his (former) female colleagues, but I think it is for the gentleman concerned to issue a statement not for me, because I was personally not present there. But I have said again and again that the women speaking out should in no way feel ashamed. Anybody who is speaking out shouldn’t be victimized or mocked at,” she said.