New Delhi, Finally, BJP has reacted to the MeToo tsunami sweeping the entire country off its feet. It was initiated by producer-writer Vinta Nanda and when the troubled waters freached the dorrsteps of the Modi government, things took a real serious turn. Union Minister MJ Akbar was put in dock by a female journalist and then all hell broke loose, when as many as nine female journalist shared their part of MeToo horror stories with the then veteran journalist and editor and now a senior BJP man MJ Akbar.
At first there was a studied silence from the BJP and after much criticism, some ministers did start reacting to it. Though the comments were few and far between seeing the gravity of the issue.
What was further shocking was when Akbar’s boss Sushma Swaraj maintained a stoic silence.
And now finally BJP president Amit Shah responded to the allegations of sexual assault against junior foreign minister MJ Akbar, 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.
Shah’s reaction comes days after at least 14 women came out in the open to share their ordeal in newsrooms headed by Akbar during his journalism years.
His response also follows a host of questions being raised about the BJP’s silence on the issue, and a cry for Akbar’s resignation.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari called it a very “serious matter” and said, “The minister concerned needs to speak up. Silence cannot be a way out. This matter should be investigated. We would like to hear from both the minister in question and the prime minister on this issue”. Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari wanted to know the government’s stand during “India’s Harvey Weinstein moment.”
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi did not directly respond to the allegations against Akbar, but she did respond to a TV news channel, “Men who are in positions of power often do this. And it applies to the media as well as to politics or senior personnel in companies.”
She said when women have started talking, their allegations should be taken seriously. “Women are scared to speak out because they think people would make fun of them and doubt their character but now when they are speaking out we should take action on each and every allegation,” she said.
Maneka has also written to the law ministry proposing to set up a panel of four retired Supreme Court judges to look into the allegations of sexual harassment that have surfaced in the #MeToo campaign.