MJ Akbar news updates: Ramdas Athawale says junior minister should resign if found guilty, cautions against misuse of #MeToo

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MJ Akbar news updates: Ramdas Athawale says junior minister should resign if found guilty, cautions against misuse of #MeToo
  • 20:09 (IST)

    'MJ Akbar should resign if found guilty,' says Ramdas Athawale

    Union minister Ramdas Athawale said MJ Akbar should resign if found guilty. "Even if personalities like Nana Patekar or MJ Akbar are found guilty, action should be taken against them," Athawale said. "If someone is guilty, the person should be punished. But according to me, there is a possibility that the platform could be used to implicate someone in a false case. The police should verify such allegations."

    Read the full report here.

  • 19:38 (IST)

    'BJP or govt not supporting or unsupporting anyone'

    BJP leader Vaibhav Agarwal told TimesNow that neither the party, nor the government was "supporting or unsupporting anyone". "It is a legal issue and has to be looked at from that lens, it is not a political issue," he told the news channel.

  • 19:33 (IST)

    Sandhya Menon speaks up against MJ Akbar

    Journalist Sandhya Menon, who has been at the forefront of the #MeToo movement in India, tweeted: "I stand by every single woman who has named MJ Akbar as a harasser."

  • 19:24 (IST)

    From sexual harassment to abuse of power as editor: Claims against MJ Akbar

    So far, 14 women have come on record to share their experiences with MJ Akbar. Women have recounted their ordeals with Akbar right from the 1980s till as recently as in in 2010-2011. Ranging from sexual harassment, sexism and abuse of power in his capacity as an editor, they recalled Akbar's despicable behaviour.

    Read more here.

  • 18:43 (IST)

    Congress asks Narendra Modi to break silence over sexual misconduct charges against MJ Akbar

    Earlier in the day, Congress leader Anand Sharma had sought a statement from the junior minister of external affairs, and was quoted by IANS as saying, ""It is a question of women's dignity, security and safety. It was expected that the minister concerned would give an immediate explanation.

    Read the full report here.

  • 18:31 (IST)

    Full text of MJ Akbar's statement on the allegations against him

  • 18:22 (IST)

    'MJ Akbar's statement adds insult to injury': Sanjay Jha

    Congress leader Sanjay Jha condemned MJ Akbar's statement on Sunday, in what was the first reaction by the party.

  • 17:54 (IST)

    'An attempt to deflect highly credible allegations by hiding behind politics'


    Adding to the list of journalists condemning MJ Akbar's statement, Prem Panicker Akbar had "managed to pick the absolutely stupidest thing", referring to the junior minister linking the sexual harassment allegations against him to the 2019 general elections. "He has no political base or constituency; his presence or absence has no quantifiable impact on a party’s fortunes at the polls. Inept to suggest the accusations are politically motivated... And worse than the ineptitude is the cold-blooded cynicism of it — an attempt to deflect highly credible allegations by hiding behind politics."

  • 17:50 (IST)

    Harinder Baweja calls Akbar's reference to general elections 'absurd'

    Journalist Harinder Baweja, one of the women who accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, tweeted: "All the women who tried to deal with the trauma for two to three decades and were now encouraged to share their pain, had the general election in mind. How absurd... The only 'agenda', to borrow the word from MJ Akbar's statement is was and will be simply this: enough is enough."

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  • 17:40 (IST)

    'I never did anything'

    In his statement, MJ Akbar referred to accounts by journalists Priya Ramani, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul and others, highlighting that they had acknowledged in their stories that he "never did anything".

    Read more about the sexual harassment charges against Akbar here.

  • 17:21 (IST)

    No clarity on MJ Akbar's resignation yet

    Although Akbar has claimed innocence and rubbished the accounts of 14 women accusing him of sexual harassment, there was no word in his statement on whether the central government will allow him to retain his position as the Minister of State for External Affairs, or whether he will be asked to resign.

    "These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill," he said.

    Read the full story here.

  • 17:20 (IST)

    'Is there an agenda?' MJ Akbar questions in his statement

    "Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge. These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill," he said in his first response to the matter.

    Read the full story here.

  • 16:39 (IST)

    Swati Chaturvedi calls government 'shameful' for not sacking Akbar

    Journalist Swati Chaturvedi hit out at the government for not having MJ Akbar step down despite at least 14 allegations of sexual assault against him. Tagging the Prime Minister's office in a tweet, she said: "What a shameful government you run @PMOIndia."

  • 16:36 (IST)

    Nothing more shocking and shameful than to say that it is a political conspiracy: Congress

    Speaking to CNN News18 about MJ Akbar's claim that the allegations against him are part of a political conspiracy, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said, "For Akbar to try and say that several women in various phases of their lives, encountering him in their journalistic careers, came together by some cosmic power... I don't think there is anything more atrocious than that."

  • 16:23 (IST)

    Media must boycott him if govt does not have him resign: Barkha Dutt

    Journalist Barkha Dutt responded to MJ Akbar's statement denying charges of sexual assault lodged against him by at least 14 women, urging the media to boycott him and all of his ministry's official events.

  • 16:18 (IST)

    Akbar's lawyers to investigate 'wild, baseless allegations'

  • 16:15 (IST)

    Govt undecided on whether to ask MJ Akbar to resign

    Sources in the government had told Firstpost this morning that MJ Akbar would be asked to go. However, there appears to have been a shift in that position.

  • 16:12 (IST)

    MJ Akbar says Priya Ramani, Ghazala Wahab have no apprehension, discomfort

    Pointing out that Ramani, as well as Wahab, kept working with him after these alleged incidents, Akbar said that the reason for their silence all these years is clear: he "never did anything."

  • 16:08 (IST)

    MJ Akbar denies sexually assaulting Ghazala Wahab

    Refuting Ghazala Wahab's claims that he sexually assaulted in a private location, Akbar said: "At the time concerned, I had a very tiny cubicle, patched together by plywood and glass. Others had tables and chairs two feet away."

    ANI further quoted him as saying: "It is utterly bizarre to believe that anything could have happened in that tiny space, and, moreover, that no one else in the vicinity would come to know, in the midst of a working day. These allegations are false, motivated and baseless."

  • 16:06 (IST)

    Akbar responds to allegations from Shutapa Paul, Ghazala Wahab, Anju Bharti

    MJ Akbar responded to each individual woman who spoke out against him.

    ANI quoted him as saying "Shutapa Paul states, 'The man never laid a hand on me.' Shuma Raha says, 'I must clarify, however, that he didn’t actually ‘do’ anything.' One woman, Anju Bharti, went to the absurd extent of claiming I was partying in a swimming pool. I do not know how to swim."

    He also responded to Ghazala Wahab, who accused him of sexual assault.

  • 16:02 (IST)

    MJ Akbar responds to women who spoke on record against him, asks 'where is the story?'

  • 15:58 (IST)

    Priya Ramani did not name me because she knew it was incorrect: MJ Akbar

    Responding to Priya Ramani, the first woman to speak out against him, MJ Akbar said: "Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article. She did not, however, name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a tweet: 'Never named him because he didn't 'do' anything.'"

  • 15:57 (IST)

    'Will take appropriate legal action', says MJ Akbar

    "Lies do not have legs, but they do contain poison, which can be whipped into a frenzy. This is deeply distressing. I will be taking appropriate legal action," Akbar said.

  • 15:54 (IST)

    MJ Akbar denies allegations of sexual misconduct

    In a detailed statement, MJ Akbar said: "Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge. These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill."

  • 15:51 (IST)

    MJ Akbar to take legal action against women for 'false and fabricated' allegations

    The junior minister has released a detailed statement, in which he said he will take legal action against the women for making 'false and fabricated' allegations against him. MJ Akbar said:

    "The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad. Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections. Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action."

  • 15:24 (IST)

    Visuals of media persons stationed outside MJ Akbar's residence

  • 15:11 (IST)

    RECAP: 'I’m no Cleopatra but he liked sitting and looking at me,' said Shutapa Paul

    In a series of tweets, journalist Shutapa Paul recounted her experience at India Today, with MJ Akbar at the helm. After she had rejected one of his invitations back to his hotel, she said, "I became completely invisible in the organisation. None of my stories were getting approved, what ever I wrote was being ridiculed at edit meetings. Some Delhi colleagues told me about this."

    She also tweeted that "This incident traumatised me and I was filled with self-doubt and low esteem. I wish I had fought back then but I didn’t know how."

  • 14:34 (IST)

    Congress questions PM's silence on issue, says 'government's dignity is at stake'

    Congress leader Anand Sharma in a press conference questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the matter, saying: "The women of this country want to know what the prime minister thinks of this."

    "Let the country judge the prime minister for his words. So far, his silence seems conspicuous," he said.

  • 14:08 (IST)

    Priya Ramani says Akbar's resignation 'big victory for #MeToo movement'

    Journalist and author Priya Ramani, who was the first person to accuse MJ Akbar of sexual misconduct, tweeted a response to the former journalist's resignation. 

  • 14:05 (IST)

    No consensus in BJP about MoS' ousting

    A consensus has reportedly not been achieved among Bharatiya Janata Party members on whether MJ Akbar, a minister of state, can be ousted merely on the basis of allegations. Earlier BJP president Amit Shah had spoken about the issue, saying that it remains to be seen if the allegations are true or false.

    "We will have to verify whether these allegations are true or false. We have to check the veracity of the post and the person who posted it... (Is baare me zaroor sochenge) We will definitely look into the issue," Shah was quoted as saying by The Times of India

    Read more here.

  • 13:56 (IST)

    RECAP: Harinder Baweja had said 'so many of us have an MJ story'

    Journalist and author Harinder Baweja on Monday took to Twitter to share her story of sexual assault. She said that Akbar had a pattern of inviting himself over to female journalists' homes with alcohol.

  • 13:45 (IST)

    RECAP: Smriti Irani says women speaking out against Akbar should not be shamed

    Union minister Smriti Irani spoke to media about the allegations against MJ Akbar, saying that "anybody who is speaking out should in no way be victimised, shamed or mocked. That is my only appeal to anyone who is witnessing this surge of emotions, of anger."

  • MJ Akbar returns from Africa tour

    Junior foreign minister MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple female journalists, on Sunday returned from Equatorial Guinea as part of a tour across Africa. 

    Akbar was mobbed by media persons, asking him to comment on the allegations. However, the journalist-turned-politician only said, "There will be a statement later."

  • 13:04 (IST)

    Bloomberg journalist levies fresh allegation against MJ Akbar

    Ruth David, a journalist working at Bloomberg's London office, accused MJ Akbar of sexually harassing her during her time as a news trainee at Asian Age newspaper.

    In an article originally published on Medium, she said: "Like any good journalist, Akbar asked so many questions, wanting to know every small detail to be used in a slow-burn game of sexual conquest. He started asking me to proofread the new book he was writing, in his office, sitting on his dark leather chair while he stood close behind and offered massages ostensibly because I looked stressed. And when I refused, he would try and kiss me as I squirmed away."

    "Even as a naïve teenager I could tell he had tried this on other young women, and one of my greatest regrets is not doing more to stop it happening to others when I finally left," she said.

  • 12:48 (IST)

    RECAP: #MeToo allegations against public figures take over social media

    A wide range of accusations — from inappropriate behaviour to rape — have been levelled against public personalities from the fields of (mainly) the media and entertainment.

    Some of the women who have made these allegations chose to reveal their identities; others have shared their accounts anonymously, by reaching out to journalists Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil), Anoo Bhuyan (@AnooBhu), writer-comic Mahima Kukreja (@AGirlOfHerWords) and singer Chinmayi Sripaada (@chinmayi), among several others curating these stories on Twitter.

    Read the complete list of the allegations reported on social media so far here.

  • 12:37 (IST)

    RECAP: 'If Brett Kavanaugh could be asked for explanation, why not MJ Akbar?'

    Congress leader and former Union minister Jaipal Reddy, at a press conference, said: "MJ Akbar has his own stature of being a veteran journalist in addition to being junior minister with the External Affairs Ministry. Sushma Swaraj could not comment on her own subordinate. Akbar should either come out with a satisfactory explanation or he must resign from his post in the government. We demand an enquiry into these allegations."

    "If Justice Brett Kavanaugh can be asked for an explanation then why not MJ Akbar who allegedly did whatever he did much later in his life than Kavanaugh," Reddy added.

  • 12:15 (IST)

    MJ Akbar may meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj shortly

    The junior MEA minister who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 14 women returned to India on Sunday morning and has reportedly tendered his resignation to PMO via an email. 

  • 11:55 (IST)

    Resignation not yet accepted by PMO
     

    Sources told CNN News18 that MJ Akbar's resignation, which was sent via email, was sent to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). However, the news channel said that the resignation letter has not been accepted yet.

  • 11:44 (IST)

    Criminal charges should be levied against Akbar: Barkha Dutt

    Veteran journalist Barkha Dutt tweeted about MJ Akbar's resignation, saying that he should face criminal charges and legal prosecution as well.

  • 11:23 (IST)

    Narendra Modi to meet top govt officials regarding matter: Reports

    As per a report from Times Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet top government officials today to discuss the matter.

    CNN News18 added that Akbar has sought a meeting with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

  • 11:14 (IST)

    MJ Akbar tenders resignation, say reports

    The minister of state tendered his resignation via email, and the principal secretary has been marked in the email.

  • 11:07 (IST)

    RECAP: 'What he did was disgusting,' said Majlie de Puy Kamp 

    The Huffington Post on Friday had released the statement of US-based journalist Majlie de Puy Kamp, who was sexually assaulted by MJ Akbar in 2007 when she was an 18-year-old intern at Asian Age.

    One of her tasks at the paper was to show Akbar options for the lead photograph for the next morning's front page. One day, upon thanking him for letting her work at the newspaper, de Puy Kamp said, "He got up and walked around his desk to where I was sitting, so I also got up and I extended my hand."

    "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," she said.

    "What he did was disgusting, he violated my boundaries, betrayed my trust and that of my parents," du Puy Kamp told HuffPost India in an email, adding that she met Akbar through her parents who had worked as foreign correspondents in Delhi in the 1980s.

    "He was my parent's friend, he was supposed to pull through for me if I ever got in trouble while living in a foreign country."

  • 10:50 (IST)

    Ghazala Wahab hits out at MEA

  • 10:45 (IST)

    Subramanian Swamy demands probe based on media reports

    Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy took cognizance of the allegations against Akbar and has sought a probe into the charges.

    India Today quoted him as saying, "I asked for an investigation based on what the media told me about the incident."

    "Naturally, this issue will be raised in Parliament," he added.

  • 10:28 (IST)

    RECAP: 'I sensed a danger,' says journalist Saba Naqvi

    In an article for dailyO, writer and journalist Saba Naqvi, too, recounted her experience with Akbar at her first job with the Ananda Bazar Patrika in the 1980s in Kolkata. 

    "The man never laid a hand on me — but I have no doubt that this was harassment by the boss... It's worth writing about this now as I have, over the years, heard of similar stories in newsrooms of regional and vernacular papers and TV channels, where women continue to put up with predatory behavior," Naqvi wrote.

    "In my list of editors, he is the worst I ever encountered... I sensed a danger and was someone who got away."

  • 10:18 (IST)

    RECAP: SP had said allegations against Akbar akin to India's Harvey Weinstein moment

    Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari was quoted as saying by The Hindu, "The allegations against Akbar is India's Harvey Weinstein moment. The Modi government talks of beti bachao, beti padhao (save the girl child, educate her), but the people of India have built a movement which seeks justice for women. Akbar should resign."

  • 09:59 (IST)

    RECAP: Ex-bureau chief of Asian Age Seema Mustafa had condemned MJ Akbar

    Journalist and author Ghazala Wahab's article in The Wire recounted the horrors from 1994 when she joined The Asian Age (when Akbar was the editor).

    In her article, Wahab wrote that during her initial years at the newspaper, she "accepted everything as part of the office culture — Akbar's flirtation with young sub-editors, his blatant favouritism and his bawdy jokes". "His eyes fell on me. And my nightmare began" in her third year at The Asian Age. 

    Seema Mustafa, the then bureau chief for Asian Age, released a statement in Wahab's support.

    Read the full statement here.

  • 09:44 (IST)

    People should know their limits: BJP MP Kirron Kher

  • 09:38 (IST)

    RECAP: Priya Ramani first to accuse Akbar

    It was Ramani's tweet on Monday that triggered the initial outpouring of messages claiming sexual harassment charges against Akbar. One of them tweeted: “So many of us have an MJ story.” Little did we know the extent of what she meant by “many”.

  • 09:30 (IST)

    Women journalists to boycott Akbar's events

MJ Akbar returns to India LATEST updates: Junior foreign minister MJ Akbar has denied all allegations of sexual harassment against him. In a detailed statement released hours after his return to India, Akbar named some of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, claiming that he did not do anything to them. He also said he will take legal action against the women for making "false and fabricated" allegations against him.

However, there is still no clarity on whether Akbar will resign or will be asked to step down from the post of Minister of State for External Affairs. Earlier, reports had claimed that he had resigned over an email, but there was no mention of his resignation in the statement.

Earlier on Sunday, Congress leader Anand Sharma questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the matter, calling it "conspicuous". Later in the day, Union minister Ramdas Athawale said Akbar should resign if found guilty.

In the last few days, at least 14 women have offered their accounts of alleged sexual harassment by Akbar as the #MeToo movement swept across India, bringing to fore sordid tales of sexual harassment by influential men in different walks of lives.

While the BJP has kept mum, some woman ministers have lent their support to the #MeToo movement without taking a stand on the charges against Akbar. Party leaders have said it is for Akbar to respond to the charges first.

On reports of his resignation, journalist and author Priya Ramani said Akbar's resignation was a "big win for the #MeToo movement" in India. It was in response to her tweet accusing the junior minister of sexual harassment that several women opened about with their "MJ stories".

The latest to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment was Ruth David, a journalist at Bloomberg London. She published an article on Medium, accusing Akbar of sexually harassing her during her time at The Asian Age.

Veteran journalist Barkha Dutt tweeted about MJ Akbar's resignation, saying that he should face criminal charges and legal prosecution as well.

Journalist Ghazala Wahab, one of the 14 women who accused MJ Akbar of sexual misconduct, said that if the MEA has no qualms letting a sexual predator represent India abroad, then perhaps the world must refuse to receive him, in solidarity with the #MeToo movement not just here but worldwide.

Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has sought an investigation into the charges against Akbar. India Today quoted him as saying, "I asked for an investigation based on what the media told me about the incident." "Naturally, this issue will be raised in Parliament," he added.

Akbar returned from an official trip to African nations on Sunday morning. He was greeted by a throng of reporters at New Delhi's international airport, who threw a barrage of questions at him that he chose to ignore.

While the BJP has maintained a studied silence on the matter so far, party sources have said the charges against him are serious, and his continuance as a minister is no longer guaranteed. A final call will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they said. There is also a view within the party that there is no legal case against him, and allegations pertain to a time long before he became a minister.

 


Updated Date: Oct 14, 2018 20:12 PM

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