#MeToo: Maneka demands probe into 'all allegations'

#MeToo: Maneka demands probe into 'all allegations'

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. (PIB Photo via PTI)

With the #MeToo movement striking former editor and Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi emphatically sought “action on each and every allegation.”

Replying to a specific question about Akbar facing the allegations of sexual harassment, Maneka, who had earlier batted for a “MeToo” movement in India, assured that strict action will be taken.

“At least investigation should definitely be carried. Men who are in power and position often do it. This applies to the media, to the politicians or people holding high ranks in companies. Women generally do not speak. They fear that they will be branded as having bad character. Now when they have started speaking up, we should take it with all seriousness. One should take action on each and every allegation,” she told India Today.

After many Bollywood celebrities and media professionals, the heat turned on Akbar after journalist Priya Ramani, hired by him long ago, wrote a piece making a direct allegation of sexual harassment against the minister.

Priya said sarcastically that she did not name him because he didn’t “do” anything but lots of women may have worse stories related to him to share. Few others, too, joined in making similar allegations against the “editor” while he worked in various media organisations. Akbar has not yet come out with any public response on the accusations against him.

Amid the raging #MeToo movement, writer-producer of the avant-garde 1990s' show "Tara" fame, Vinta Nanda, accused actor Alok Nath of raping her about 20 years ago, calling him as the 'most sanskari actor' in her Facebook post.

“Neither I am denying this nor I would agree with it. It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it as for the matter if it has come out, it will be stretched,” Nath told a news channel.

Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) said it will issue a show cause notice to Nath in connection with the accusations against him. As the debate over sexual harassment rages, BJP MP Udit Raj called the movement “beginning of a wrong trend”.

“#MeToo campaign is required but what is the point of levelling allegations of sexual exploitation against someone 10 years after the incident. How will it be possible to verify the truth of such accusations after these many years? What a big dent in some one's image it will cause if accusations are false. It is a matter which is worth giving a thought. Beginning of a wrong trend,” he tweeted, drawing flak from many Twitteratis.