#MeToo Row: MJ Akbar Returns To India, Says Statement On Sexual Harassment Later

NEW DELHI: Union Minister M J Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by a number of women journalists, when he was an editor of several publications, returned to India on Sunday. “There will be a statement later on”, Akbar told reporters as he made his way out of the Delhi airport.

Sources in the BJP admit that the charges against him are serious and his berth on the cabinet can no longer be guaranteed. A final call on the matter will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they told news agency PTI.

“As of now, it depends on what stand he takes after the allegations and the pressure on the government over his resignation. Both the party and the government are watching it closely”, said a union minister on condition of anonimity.

Earlier, BJP leader Smriti Irani said it was Akbar’s call to respond into the matter. “Do not judge those who are speaking out right now. They are mothers, daughters and wives. They are taking a big risk and it must be very difficult for them to speak out”, Irani said at a FICCI event in Mumbai.

MJ Akbar had gone on a visit to Nigeria during which the allegations were made under #MeToo against him.

The charges against Mr Akbar began with a tweet by journalist Priya Ramani on October 8, in which she said that an article she had written for Vogue India a year ago on her experience of sexual harassment was actually about MJ Akbar.

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The Central Women and Child Development Ministry has already constituted a committee to investigate all cases related to #MeToo . This committee includes retired judges and lawmakers as a member.

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