Friday 15 November 2019

Sex abuse allegations 'political' - minister

Indian government minister MJ Akbar has described multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him as “wild and baseless”. (stock picture)
Indian government minister MJ Akbar has described multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him as “wild and baseless”. (stock picture)

Zeba Siddiqui

Indian government minister MJ Akbar has described multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him as "wild and baseless" and added he plans to take legal action against the women who have made the accusations.

The comments by Mr Akbar (67) follow widespread calls on social media for his resignation from his post as the minister of state for external affairs after at least 10 women came forward to accuse him of harassment in recent days.

"The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice," said Mr Akbar in a statement.

Founder of several publications, the veteran editor has been accused of a range of inappropriate behaviour by women journalists who previously worked as his subordinates. Many journalists have called for Mr Akbar to be sacked and have threatened to boycott events he is attending until he resigns.

The government has remained silent while Mr Akbar was attending a conference in Nigeria. He returned to New Delhi yesterday, stating he plans to fight the claims and questioned if they were politically motivated.

"Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge," he said.

Harinder Baweja, one of his accusers who is a senior journalist with the daily 'Hindustan Times', tweeted: "All the women who tried to deal with the trauma for two to three decades and were now encouraged to share their pain, had the general election in mind. How absurd."

Irish Independent

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