New Delhi, October 13: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah broke his silence on charges of sexual harassment against MJ Akbar in the #MeToo movement even as another woman, this time from the US, accused the minister of the state of foreign affairs of sexual misconduct. Amit Shah said the BJP would look into the matter and verify the charges against Akbar.
“We will definitely look into the issue. We have to see whether these allegations are true or false. We have to check the veracity of the post and the person who posted it,” Shah was quoted as saying by Times of India. This is the first major reaction from the BJP leadership on the #MeToo campaign that has stung Akbar after several women journalist accused him of sexual misconduct. #MeToo in India: Rahul Gandhi Breaks Silence, Says 'Space Closing For Those Who Don't Treat Women With Respect'.
According to a report, several ministers have told the BJP high command that Akbar’s position in the government has become untenable. There is a feeling that not removing Akbar could undermine the party’s 'pro-women empowerment' image ahead of crucial elections in five states. Pressure has been mounting on the Modi government to sack Akbar. Smriti Irani Reacts to #MeToo Allegations Against MJ Akbar.
As the #MeToo campaign gained momentum, at least seven women journalists had accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he was an editor. In the fresh #MeToo charge against Akbar, CNN scribe Majlie de Puy Kamp on Friday accused Akbar of forcibly kissing her when she was interning with the Asian Age in 2007.
"He grabbed me right under my shoulders, on my arms, and pulled me in and kissed me on my mouth and forced his tongue into my mouth, and I just stood there," Puy Kamp told the HuffPost. Akbar, is currently on an official visit to Nigeria, has not yet responded to the allegations.