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Smriti Irani: It's for MJ Akbar to speak on Me Too row

India Today logo India Today 11-10-2018 IndiaToday.in
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Union Minister Smriti Irani says it's for MJ Akbar, the junior minister facing sexual harassment allegations, to issue a statement, and that women speaking out in the #MeToo movement shouldn't be mocked or shamed.

a person sitting posing for the camera: Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said women sharing stories of harassment or assault shouldn't be mocked or shamed. © IndiaToday.in Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said women sharing stories of harassment or assault shouldn't be mocked or shamed.

"The gentleman concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue," Irani told reporters today, without explicitly naming Akbar. "I appreciate that the media is accosting his [woman] colleagues."

"But I think that it is for the gentleman concerned to issue a statement, not for me, because I was personally not present there."

#MeToo: Full Coverage

The allegations against Akbar have been made by a number of women journalists; the accounts are from a time when Akbar held senior editorial positions in media firms. The women have described how Akbar used to conduct meetings and interviews in hotel rooms and exhibit "predatory" behaviour. At least one woman has accused Akbar of molesting her.

© Getty

Smriti Irani said women sharing stories of harassment or assault shouldn't be mocked or shamed.

"I have said again and again on this particular issue -- especially about women speaking out -- that anybody who's speaking out in no way should be shamed. Anybody who's speaking out should be in no way victimised or mocked," she said. "That is my only appeal to everybody who is witnessing this surge of outpouring of emotions, of anger,on the internet and offline also."

Akbar hasn't yet commented on the allegations against him. He is in Africa, and will head to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea as scheduled. He is likely to return to India only by the weekend.

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