Who is PM backing, Akbar or his victims, asks Congress

Who is PM backing, Akbar or his victims, asks Congress

Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress members protest against MoS for External Affairs, M J Akbar for his reported sexual misconduct and harassment of women journalists, in New Delhi on Monday. PTI

As M J Akbar moved court challenging allegations of sexual misconduct against him, the Congress on Monday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make it clear whether he would stand by the victims or the Union minister.

“We want to know from the prime minister whether his slogan 'Beti Bachao' was hollow? Now that his minister has filed a defamation case, the prime minister should make it clear whether he would stand by the victim,” R P N Singh, Congress spokesman, told reporters in New Delhi.

The Congress turned up the heat on the Modi government as the activists of its youth wing staged demonstrations in front of Akbar's official residence demanding his resignation.

Some Youth Congress activists tried to scale the barricades put up by the police near Akbar's Teen Murti Lane residence and were detained by the police.

Akbar had already left for his office for a meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan.

The Congress has gradually stepped up attack on Akbar since the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him last week.

Initially, the Congress wanted the Union minister to give an explanation and demanded an investigation into the allegations.

As more women journalists leveled similar allegations against the minister, the Congress went a step ahead and demanded Akbar's resignation in case his explanation was unsatisfactory.

The Congress had also questioned the prime minister's silence on the issue.

After Akbar dug in his heels and threatened to file a defamation suit against the women journalists, the Congress hit out at the Modi government, accusing it of actively protecting and promoting sexual perverts.

“I wonder how over a dozen women sharing their experiences can be claimed as political conspiracy? Bigger wonder is which constituency does his stepping down impact in elections,” Priyanka Chaturvedi, convenor of the AICC communication department, had said.

Earlier, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma hit out at the prime minister for his silence on the allegations against Akbar.

“It is the moral duty of the prime minister to speak on the issue. On the one hand, the prime minister talks of saving the girl child and on the other he is conspicuous by his silence on allegations against his ministerial colleague,” Sharma had said.