In the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct by a number of journalists, Minister MJ Akbar has resigned from the post. This came after he had rejected the allegations and stated that the charges are motivated. Speculations are that the BJP has forced MJ Akbar to step down citing the party’s solidarity with the victims in the ongoing #Metoo moment. MJ Akbar was one of the prominent cases that have come up in India is that of union minister and BJP leader MJ Akbar. Several women have accused him of indecent behavior and sexual harassment. At least 11 allegations have been levied against Akbar. He was first accused by journalist Priya Ramani, who had written about him in an article she wrote for Vogue a year ago without mentioning his name, however, when the #MeToo movement gathered steam in India, she named him. A couple of journalists based outside India have also levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him, which includes the UK based journalist Ruth David and the US based journalist Puy Kamp.
Another journalist, Ghazala Wahab, has also made extremely serious allegations against the journalist-turned politician and has accused him of persistent sexual abuses against her. All these allegations had seriously damaged Akbar’s public image and, in the process, even the BJP was bound to be seen by many as a party harboring and defending someone with serious allegations of sexual harassment. Some of the accusers have reiterated these allegations and press associations have said they will be coming out with strong responses to the developments. Even the Delhi Commission for Women chief has spoken strongly about this. One cannot help but agree that MJ Akbar was currently in a spot of bother and the BJP was also being looked down upon in the process.
The resignation of MJ Akbar will send a strong message across that the BJP believes in fair investigations and maintains high standards even when its own men are involved. Even though it may be unfair to take such a decision against MJ Akbar only on the basis of allegations, the BJP was supposed to take this hard step in the larger interest.
MJ Akbar had earlier rejected the allegations levied against him in a vociferous manner. He had also filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani for “intentionally and maliciously harming his goodwill and reputation on completely false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous grounds”. These allegations are made with reference to his journalism days and MJ Akbar is supposed to fight for himself, which he should in the current situation.
By forcing MJ Akbar to resign, the BJP has shown that it stands with the women in the #Metoo movement. This step would also would now put the onus on those who were trying to defend their own comrades by attacking the BJP and MJ Akbar.
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