(Image source from: The Indian Express)
Maneka Gandhi, the Women and Child Development Minister has said the sexual harassment allegations against anyone should be taken solemnly as women are oftentimes afraid to speak out.
Gandhi's response comes amid Union minister and former editor M.J. Akbar facing earnest allegations of sexual harassment during his stint as a journalist.
Six women journalists have come on record to accuse Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar of sexual harassment and improper behaviour when he worked as a newspaper editor. Accusers include journalists Priya Ramani, Kanika Gahlaut, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Prerna Singh Bindra and Shutapa Paul.
"Men who are in positions of power often do this. And it applies to the media as well as to politics or senior personnel in companies," Gandhi told a TV news channel here on October 9.
She said when women have started taking, their allegations should be taken seriously.
"Women are scared to speak out because they think people would make fun of them and doubt their character, but now when they are speaking out, we should take action against each and every allegation," she said.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on October 9 avoided questions whether the administration will take any action against the Union minister.
The #MeToo movement has intensified in the country with more women recounting their experiences of sexual harassment in the entertainment and media industry.