#MeToo: Smriti Irani breaks silence on MJ Akbar; says ‘he would be in a better position to speak’

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New Delhi: After Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar came under limelight over #MeToo movement, Union Minister Smriti Irani broke silence on Akbar, who is abroad at a time sex harassment allegations have surfaced against him.

Irani said MJ Akbar would be ‘in a better position to speak’ on the allegations, deftly parrying questions about whether he would be asked to exit the government.

“I think the gentleman concerned would be in a better position to speak. I appreciate that the media is accosting his female colleagues,” said the Textile Minister.

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“My only appeal is that anybody who is speaking out should in no way be shamed, victimised or mocked,” she stressed, strongly supporting women who had come out and shared their stories in the ongoing #MeToo campaign in India. The only other minister to come out in support of the movement is her colleague Maneka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development. “There should be an investigation… Now that women have started speaking out, we should take it seriously,” Gandhi had said.

Smriti Irani hailed the fact that the women are speaking up and that it must be difficult for women to speak out. “Women go to work to live their dreams and earn a respectable living. More and more women are winning support. I feel there are enough instruments to deliver justice. Hope these women get justice,” she said.

Even the MEA sources did not comment on the allegations against the minister, indicating that the matter was of a ‘personal nature’, and that it had occurred prior to him becoming a part of the government.

A total of 10 women have come out and charged allegations against MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, during the time he was a journalist.

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