Swaraj dodges questions on sexual harassment allegations against MJ Akbar

New Delhi: Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday dodged questions on sexual harassment allegations against her ministry colleague MJ Akbar.

As the #MeToo campaign gains momentum in India, Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Akbar is among the latest to face the flak by some women journalists who allege him of sexual misconduct during his journalist days.

In a video shot by a journalist, Swaraj can be seen evading questions related to allegations on Akbar, asked by some women scribes.

“There are serious allegations…these are sexual harassment allegations. You are a woman minister in charge. Will there be a probe on the allegations?” journalists can be heard asking in the video. Swaraj, however, walked away without answering.

In October last year, when the #MeeToo campaign peaked in Hollywood, journalist Priya Ramani had written an article for Vogue India, titled, “To the Harvey Weinstein of the world” and narrated her ordeal about the gut-wrenching incident of sexual misconduct she faced during a job interview with a renowned journalist who had “transformed Indian journalism.” Ramani, recently on Twitter, claimed that the journalist she was referring to was MJ Akbar.

Ramani is amongst the women journalists who have levelled similar allegations against Akbar.

The #MeeToo movement first began in 2017 in Hollywood just a few days after The New York Times and The New Yorker published scores of stories about decades-long predation of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

This movement gained momentum in India after a number of women from different fields of work revealed their stories of harassment and leveled an allegation against many known personalities. It started with Tanushree Dutta accusing veteran actor Nana Patekar of harassment on the sets of a 2008 film.