#MeToo in India: Congress workers protest outside MJ Akbar’s Delhi home, demand his resignation

#MeToo in India Congress workers protest outside MJ Akbar's Delhi home, demand his resignation

A day after Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar dismissed all allegations of sexual misconduct as “false, wild and baseless”, Congress workers staged a protest against the junior minister outside his home in Delhi.

The police on Monday detained members of the Youth Congress who were protesting outside Akbar’s house, demanding his resignation. They were also protesting against Akbar resuming office on this return from an official trip abroad.

At least 14 female journalists, who had worked with Akbar at newspapers over 15 years ago, accused him of sexual misconduct as part of the #MeToo movement in India. In his statement on Sunday, Akbar questioned whether there was an agenda in the allegations as they had been made ahead of the 2019 general elections.

He also called the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him as “false, fabricated and deeply distressing”, adding that he will be taking appropriate legal action against the women.

“The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad,” he said in the statement.

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The Congress has repeatedly attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence since the allegations surfaced against Akbar.

“It is for the prime minister to speak on this issue. Let the country judge its prime minister by his actions. So far, his silence is conspicuous. This question is not only on the moral authority of the government, but that his own, as well, and the dignity of the office he holds,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said on Sunday.

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha had said Akbar’s statement “adds insult to injury and humiliation” to the women who have spoken up in the #MeToo movement. Party chief Rahul Gandhi had earlier come out in support of the #MeToo campaign, saying it was time for the truth to be told “loud and clear”.