Bhopal, October 12: Bharatiya Janata Party's women wing chief of Madhya Prades, Lata Kelkar on Thursday passed an insensitive remark on women journalists coming out with their stories of sexual harassment at workplace in the #MeToo campaign. Reacting to allegations of sexual misconduct against union minister MJ Akbar, Lata Kelkar apparently held women journalists responsible for the incidents.
"I don't consider women journalists to be so innocent that anyone can misuse them," Kelkar told reporters. “MJ Akbar was a journalist, and all the accusers are also journalists. Both were at fault,” she added. The BJP leader, however, said she welcomes the #MeToo campaign, adding it has given a platform to women to come out and speak on atrocities carrying out against them. #MeToo in India: Rahul Gandhi Breaks Silence, Says 'Space Closing For Those Who Don't Treat Women With Respect'.
When asked if Akbar should resign from his post, she said the minister and the BJP leadership would decide on it. But on being asked what if similar allegations were levelled against a Congress leader, she said she would have asked for resignation. She added that an inquiry would be held against Akbar and appropriate action would be taken only based on what is found in the probe. #MeToo: BJP MP Udit Raj Says Women Level Allegations For Money, Backs Nana Patekar.
#WATCH: I welcome this #MeToo campaign but I don't consider women journalists to be so innocent that anyone can misuse them, says Lata Kelkar, Chief of Madhya Pradesh BJP women wing on MJ Akbar. (11.10.18) pic.twitter.com/4gM5shTkg3
— ANI (@ANI) October 12, 2018
The Modi government has been facing flak from opposition parties over allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar by several female journalists and demanded his removal. At least seven women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he was an editor. Akbar, is currently on an official visit to Nigeria, has not yet responded to the allegations.
The #MeToo movement exploded in Bollywood, media, politics and corporate sector after actress Tanushree Dutta renewed a decade-old complaint of harassment against Nana Patekar two weeks ago. Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, singer Kailash Kher, actors Rajat Kapoor and Alok Nath, and Akbar are among those named as alleged predators.