Hyderabad: Minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women who had worked for him in the many publications he edited before he took to politics, is likely to be sacked from the Union Cabinet.
A day after journalist Priya Ramani spoke out about the sexual harassment that Mr Akbar had subjected her to, other journalists also shared their stories.
Ghazala Wahab, who worked with Mr Akbar in The Asian Age from 1994 to 1997, wrote of his persistence in trying to force himself on her in his office cabin, the emotional tactics he resorted to when he realised his physical advances would not work and how he even got the newspaper's tarot card columnist to tell her that he really loved her.
The two ministers who signified the rise of woman power under the Modi government - Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman — have both refused to comment on the sexual harassment allegations against their colleague.
A cornered Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, refused to answer any question on his Cabinet colleague. “Today the issue is Cabinet decisions, please concentrate on that,” he said.
Reacting to Mr Akbar's predatory behaviour, the Congress said on Wednesday that either he should offer “a satisfactory explanation on the allegations of sexual harassment against him” or resign immediately. The party also demanded an inquiry into his conduct.
Party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said women of the country are coming forward and speaking about the sexual predatory habits of people who are working amongst them. She said they have gathered enough courage to become a force loud enough for people to stand up, take notice and expect changes to happen.
“I would have hoped that every woman would speak up for all the women who have been wronged and who did not have enough courage to speak up because they feared for their own careers and their future job prospects.”...