Minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi on Friday said that she believes in all the charges made by women against sexual harassment and thereafter called for a committee of four retired judges to conduct public hearings of all the cases.
“I believe in all of them. I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complainant," Gandhi told PTI.
“I am proposing to set up a committee with senior judicial and legal persons as members to look into all issues emanating from the #MeToo campaign,” she said in an interview to PTI. The committee will look into the legal and institutional framework which is in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment, including some of the complaints if required, and advise the ministry on how to strengthen these, she said.
She also called for an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Minister of State (MoS) External Affairs MJ Akbar, who has become the first minister to be accused of sexual harassment, reports said.
The Union Minister then gave a message to all the women who have been subjected to some or the other form of harassment and said, "Please remember that you can now - as we have interpreted it - complain 10 years later, 15 years later, it doesn't matter how much later. The point is, if you are going to complain, the avenue is still open."
More recently, upcoming Bollywood film ‘Housefull 4’ finds itself in the middle of #MeToo controversy as director Sajid Khan steps down from his post in the wake of several sexual assault allegations levied against him.
Several filmmakers and actors, politicians and journalists have been named in a wave of sexual misconduct allegations, spurred on by actor Tanushree Dutta’s claims that she was harassed by her colleague Nana Patekar on the sets of a 2008 movie.
Meanwhile, this is what the Bollywood stars and leaders had to say about the #MeToo movement:
It has just started here. I think it's very good, better late than never. If you take this step now in future we'll be able to control it. If women have been through any kind of harassment whether it's physical,mental,emotional,any which way, I support them: Malaika Arora #MeToopic.twitter.com/9GYnLQHqTK
I’m disturbed by all the happenings with regards to #MeToo. My company and I believe in providing women with utmost respect and safety. If anyone has wronged even a single woman, neither ADF nor I will stand for it.
#WATCH: I welcome this #MeToo campaign but I don't consider women journalists to be so innocent that anyone can misuse them, says Lata Kelkar, Chief of Madhya Pradesh BJP women wing on MJ Akbar. (11.10.18) pic.twitter.com/4gM5shTkg3