#MeToo: MJ Akbar Back in India, May Resign From Council of Ministers Amidst Charges of Sexual Harassment
MJ Akbar (Photo credit: IANS)

New Delhi, October 14: Former editor and Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar may resign from the Council of Ministers after being accused of sexual misconduct by female journalists in #MeToo campaign. Akbar is likely to submit his resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and issued a statement later in the day.

Akbar, who returned to the country from Nigeria this morning, has been under fire after seven women journalists accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he was an editor. Speaking at Delhi's IGI airport after his arrival, the Rajya Sabha MP kept mum on allegations and said he would issue a statement later. #MeToo in India: Rahul Gandhi Breaks Silence, Says 'Space Closing For Those Who Don't Treat Women With Respect'.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah on Friday said the charges against Akbar needed to be verified, ministers in the Modi government are of the view that the accused minister should resign. According to a report, several ministers have told the BJP high command that Akbar’s position in the government has become untenable.

#MeToo Stings MJ Akbar:

More than half a dozen women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he was working as an editor at different media houses. 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.

Earlier this week, FORCE magazine Executive Editor Ghazala Wahab, in an article on a news portal, wrote an account of her "harrowing experience" with Akbar. Former Mint Lounge Editor Priya Ramani, who wrote about a predatory "celebrity editor" without naming anyone in a piece last year, on Monday publicly identified Akbar as the central character of her article.

"I began this piece with my M.J. Akbar story. Never named him because he didn't 'do' anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator -- maybe they'll share," she said. Journalist Shutapa Paul recalled in a series of tweets on Wednesday that as the India Today editor, whenever Akbar came to Kolkata, he would invite her to his hotel, usually after 8:00 pm. He would then drink alcohol and ask her also to do so.

Other female journalists who have levelled allegations against Akbar include Prerna Singh Bindra, Sujata Anandan, Shuma Raha, Harinder Baweja and Anju Bharti.