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Wednesday 22 January 2020

#MeToo controversy: BJP mulling options as MJ Akbar returns tomorrow

Meanwhile, a US-based journalist has now come forward to accuse Minister of State External Affairs MJ Akbar of sexual harassment. CNN scribe Majlie de Puy Kamp has revealed that she was sexually harassed by Akbar in 2007 when she was an 18-year-old intern

New Delhi: Amid an increasing clamour for Union minister MJ Akbar’s resignation, the BJP is likely to take a clear stand on the allegations of sexual harassment against him once he explains his position upon his scheduled return to India on Sunday.

The junior foreign minister, who has been on an official trip abroad, has so far not responded to the charges.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party 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.

Multiple women in the last few days have offered their accounts of alleged sexual harassment by Akbar as the #MeToo movement swept social media, bringing to fore sordid tales of sexual harassment by influential men in different walks of lives.

Meanwhile, a US-based journalist has now come forward to accuse Minister of State External Affairs MJ Akbar of sexual harassment. CNN scribe Majlie de Puy Kamp has revealed that she was sexually harassed by Akbar in 2007 when she was an 18-year-old intern.

As per a report by Huffington Post, Kamp was interning at the Asian Age newspaper under Akbar. The incident happened on the last day of her internship when she went to Akbar to thank him for the opportunity.

She said that as she extended her hand for gratitude Akbar “grabbed her right under [her] shoulders, on her arms. He pulled me in and kissed me on my mouth and forced his tongue into my mouth, and I just stood there, she said.

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.

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