New Delhi: Union Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday reacted on sexual harassment allegations levelled against Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar amid the raging #MeToo movement in India and appreciated the media for accosting his female colleagues over the issue. She also added that it is up to the minister concerned to come out and speak in connection with the matter. Her statement comes a few days after Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman dodged questions on the issue. Also Read - Payal Ghosh Alleges 'Rape' in FIR Against Anurag Kashyap, Filmmaker To Appear For Interrogation
“The gentlemen concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue. I appreciate that the media is accosting his female colleagues. Anybody who is speaking out should in no way be shamed, victimised or mocked,” she said. Also Read - Taapsee Pannu Gives More Support to Anurag Kashyap in #MeToo Case, Says 'I'll Break Ties With Him if he is Found Guilty'
Standing in support of the women who have come out and speaking up, Irani said, “Women don’t go to work to be harassed. They go to work to live their dreams and earn a respectable living. I am hopeful that all these ladies who are speaking out get the justice that they deserve.” Also Read - Payal Ghosh Files Complaint Against Anurag Kashyap Over Sexual Harassment Allegations at Versova Police Station
“I feel that there are enough instruments in our judicial and police systems to deliver justice; I am hopeful that all these ladies who are speaking out get the justice that they deserve,” she added.
Meanwhile, sources have claimed that MJ Akbar’s position in the government is untenable and something big on him can be expected soon. He can be asked to quit the ministry and work for the party, instead, sources were quoted as saying.
Akbar, a senior journalist, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of 2014 general elections and was elected to the Rajya Sabha a year later. He was made the Minister of State for External Affairs in 2016.
Akbar was a journalist, running a newspaper as its editor for years, before turning to politics. As many as six women journalists have called out Akbar, alleging sexual harassment at his hands.
He was first called out by journalist Priya Ramani, who had last year written about his alleged inappropriate behaviour for a magazine without taking his name. She confirmed this week that the allegation was against Akbar. MJ Akbar has not yet responded to the allegations.