Indian minister M.J. Akbar described a number of allegations of sexual harassment in opposition to him as “wild and baseless” on Sunday and added he plans to take authorized motion in opposition to the ladies who’ve made the accusations.
The feedback by Akbar, 67, comply with widespread calls on social media for his resignation from his submit because the minister of state for exterior affairs within the Indian authorities, after no less than 10 girls got here ahead to accuse him of harassment in latest days.
“The allegations of misconduct made in opposition to me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice,” mentioned Akbar in a one-page assertion given to Reuters companion ANI in India.
The veteran editor, who based a number of publications, has been accused of a spread of inappropriate behaviour by feminine journalists who beforehand labored as his subordinates.
Many journalists have referred to as for Akbar to be sacked and have threatened to boycott occasions he’s attending till he resigns.
The federal government has remained silent on the problem for days, whereas Akbar was attending a convention in Nigeria. He returned to New Delhi on Sunday morning to discover a crowd of reporters ready outdoors his residence.
Akbar mentioned he plans to combat the allegations and questioned in the event that they have been politically motivated.
“Why has this storm risen a number of months earlier than a common election? Is there an agenda? You be the decide,” he mentioned.
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Harinder Baweja, one of many girls who has accused Akbar, criticised his response.
“All the ladies who tried to take care of the trauma for 2 to 3 many years and have been now inspired to share their ache, had the final election in thoughts. How absurd,” mentioned Baweja, a senior journalist with the day by day Hindustan Occasions, on Twitter on Sunday.
#MeToo in India
Akbar is without doubt one of the highest profile figures up to now to face accusations in India‘s burgeoning #MeToo motion.
The motion that started in the US in response to accusations of sexual harassment and abuse by highly effective males in media and leisure over a 12 months in the past, has picked up tempo in India in the previous couple of weeks after a Bollywood actress accused a colleague of inappropriate behaviour on the units of a movie they have been capturing in 2008.
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Since then, over a dozen males from media, leisure and the artwork world have been accused of offences starting from sexual harassment to rape. A number of media organisations have sacked or despatched workers on go away in latest days after a string of comparable allegations.
Within the newest allegation to floor in opposition to Akbar, Majlie de Puy Kamp, a New York-based journalist, mentioned Akbar molested her when she was an 18-year-old intern at his newspaper Asian Age in New Delhi in 2007.
“What he did was disgusting, he violated my boundaries, betrayed my belief,” de Puy Kamp informed the information web site Huffington Put up India.
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The opposite journalists who’ve accused Akbar, which embody among the nation’s main journalists and authors, weren’t instantly reachable on Sunday, or didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
India‘s important opposition get together Congress has demanded Akbar’s resignation, whereas Maneka Gandhi, the minister for ladies and baby growth, has referred to as for an investigation into the allegations in opposition to Akbar.