Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar stepped down Wednesday following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment during his days as editor of several publications
In a brief statement, Akbar said he had decided to seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity
“I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation…,” Akbar said
He also expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for giving him the opportunity to serve the country.
Over the last fortnight, about 20 women have come forward to narrate their experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Akbar.
Akbar’s resignation “victory of truth”: Congress
The Congress Wednesday termed as “victory of truth” the resignation of union minister M J Akbar following charges of sexual harassment against him.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said she saluted those women who stood on their charges against the minister bravely despite the “brazen” stance taken by the government.
“This resignation is a vindication of the power of truth. More strength to India’s women,” she said.
“The resignation of MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar after serious charges were levelled against him by senior women journalists who worked with him is a vindication of the power of truth even if it began with one brave person speaking up,” she said.
The Congress leader hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what she said was his “silence” in the matter.
“I salute these women who stood their ground despite the brazen stance of the GoI, silence of the PM who speaks about women empowerment, the arrogant misuse of power by deploying a battery of lawyers against one woman and allowing the accused to continue in his role,” Chaturvedi said in a tweet.
Alleging that using threat and intimidation as a tool to silence voices has become the norm of the Modi government, she said but this brazenness is returning to haunt them.
“The women of the country are saying the time for this is up&threat to silence voices can no longer be the norm or acceptable,” she said.
Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev termed Akbar’s stepping down as a “moral victory” for everyone and sought support for the #MeToo movement across party lines.
“M J Akbar’s resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can’t change that. The #MeToo movement needs support across party lines,” she tweeted.
” I admire the courage of @priyaramani & all the victims who spoke out against sexual harassment & abuse. @mjakbar s resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can’t change that. The #MeToo movement needs support across party lines.