#MeToo: Charges against MJ Akbar will be probed, says BJP president Amit Shah

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 13, 2018, 09.39 AM(IST)

File photo of MJ Akbar. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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At least eight women have so far accused Akbar, who is junior foreign minister, of sexual assault and harassment when he was a newspaper editor. 

BJP president Amit Shah has said the charges of sexual assault and harassment against Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar will be probed. 

News reports Saturday quoted Shah as saying the veracity of the allegations against Akbar would have to be examined. "We will definitely look into the issue," he was quoted as saying. 

Shah added that Akbar's side of the story would have to be heard too. 

The comments on Akbar are among the first by the BJP leadership. 

Also read: 'Truth needs to be told loud and clear,' says Rahul Gandhi

Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani had earlier said it was up to the minister to respond. Akbar, who is currently on a tour of Africa, has not done so so far. He is due to return on Sunday. 

At least eight women have so far accused Akbar of assault and harassment when he was a newspaper editor. 

The latest charges came on Friday from the US-based journalist Majlie de Puy Kamp, who said Akbar kissed her — she had he put his tongue into her mouth — on her last day in office when she was interning with the Asian Age.

She was 18 at the time. 

News reports quoted her as saying Akbar "violated my boundaries, betrayed my trust and that of my parents”. Kamp had got her internship through her parents who were both foreign correspondents in India at the time. 

Maneka Gandhi meanwhile has said her ministry of women and child development will be setting up a panel of legal experts to "examine all issues emanating from the #MeTooIndia movement". 

“I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complaint. Cases of sexual harassment at work must be dealt with a policy of zero tolerance. The Ministry will be setting up a committee of senior judicial & legal persons to examine all issues emanating from the #MeTooIndia movement,” Gandhi tweeted.

“It takes a lot for women to come out like this. These cases have been elephants in the rooms for the last 25 years. The question here is how can they prove these after all these years... they have faced verbal assault, they have been touched, pinched, their clothes have been pulled,” Gandhi told PTI.

“The first thing to do is naming and shaming these monsters. Naming and shaming will go a long way in lessening the pain these women have been carrying,” Gandhi added.