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MJ Akbar continues Africa tour with Malabo visit; junior external affairs minister to return to India on 14 October

Even as allegations of sexual harassment against MJ Akbar were made public by more than a dozen women journalists during his visit to Nigeria, the junior minister for external affairs is continuing his tour of Africa and is only expected to return to India on 14 October, CNN News18 reported.

File image of Union minister MJ Akbar. Getty images

File image of Union minister MJ Akbar. Getty images

Akbar left for Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on Thursday. Akbar was in Nigeria when these allegations surfaced. He was in the capital city of Lagos for a week-long celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, ANI reported.

Akbar also attended various bilateral meets and events in Nigeria. He delivered a lecture on ‘Geo-Strategic Relations between India and Nigeria with Defence Co-operation as a Key Pillar’ at Nigerian Army Resource Centre in Abuja, attended the India-West Africa Regional Conclave, inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Photo Exhibition on the sidelines of the conclave and held official talks with Nigeria's vice president and foreign minister.

Akbar said during an engagment: "The best way to eliminate poverty is to empower women. If you invest in women, you invest in future,” India Today reported.

Meanwhile, the BJP expects Akbar to offer an explanation to the party's top brass before it takes a call on his future, PTI reported.

Neither External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj nor the ministry has commented on allegations against Akbar. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Textiles Minister Smriti Irani placed the onus of commenting on Akbar.

At least 14 women journalists publicly accused Akbar of sexual harassment ranging from inappropriate remarks to repeated invitations to his hotel rooms. Besides Priya Ramani several journalists including Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Saba Naqvi, Kadambari M Wade, Harinder Baweja, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta and Kanika Gahlaut levelled allegations of sexual harassment.

Akbar has been the editor of prominent newspapers such as The Telegraph, The Asian Age and The Sunday Guardian, and is a BJP MP.


Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 15:56 PM

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