Smriti Irani dodges questions on MJ Akbar, says 'concerned gentleman' better equipped to issue statement on matter

Union minister Smriti Irani on Thursday sparked controversy when she claimed that she was not a feminist because "considering yourself human is not a sign of feminism but a sign of humanity."

Asking reporters not to "bind anybody in nomenclatures", she said, "Nomenclatures are acceptable internationally. But in my country, don’t call me feminist just because I respect women."

Irani, earlier on Thursday, evaded questions on the sexual harassment allegations against Akbar. She had said, "The gentlemen concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue." Though she also said, "I appreciate that the media is accosting his female colleagues." Irani, however, refused to issue any statement as she was "personally not present there". She also told the reporters, "Anybody who is speaking out should in no way be shamed, victimised or mocked".

Irani's statement came after, several political parties, including the Congress, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Samajwadi Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) demanded Akbar's resignation.

On Wednesday, Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy had said: "I think Mr MJ Akbar must either offer a satisfactory explanation or must resign forthwith. How can he be in the ministry with this serious allegation being levelled against him by a responsible journalist who worked with him? Let there be an inquiry into this. We demand an inquiry into Akbar's conduct."

Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 07:38 AM

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