Smriti puts onus on Akbar to respond to charges

NEW DELHI: Union minister Smriti Irani on Thursday put the onus on minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar to respond to allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him.

“The gentleman concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue,” Smriti Irani said while responding to questions over allegations against Akbar.

“I appreciate that the media is accosting his (former) female colleagues but I think it is for the gentleman concerned to issue a statement (and) not for me because I was personally not present there,” Irani added.

She urged people not to mock the women who are speaking out against the harassment meted out to them.

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

Some women journalists have come out and accused Akbar, a former editor and now the minister of state for external affairs, of sexually harassing them during his stint as a journalist.

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