Why The Hindu Editorial Today On MJ Akbar Resigning Is A Must Read
“He has no political heft and a conspiracy to tarnish him and secure his speedy exit from the Narendra Modi government would have left it none the weaker.”
In its editorial “Untenable: on MJ Akbar” published on Monday, The Hindu has taken a firm stand in support of the survivors who have leveled sexual harassment allegations against veteran journalist and Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar.
In the wake of #MeToo revelations last week, almost a dozen women journalists publicly accused Akbar of sexual harassment during his time as editor. Spanning over two decades, the incidents narrated point to an insidious pattern of abuse of power and predatory behaviour.
In his statement issued on Sunday, Akbar termed the allegations against him “false and fabricated”. Feebly adding, he is being targeted right before the 2019 general elections, which, according to him, is proof that the accusers have a political agenda.
The editorial demolished Akbar’s arguments point-by-point and also assigned responsibility to Prime Minister Modi, who “has sent an unfortunate message about his government’s attitude to harassment and the protection of women in workspaces.”
Here are some important excerpts from the editorial:
- “He chose to spin an unconvincing web of conspiracy around the sudden spate of the #MeToo disclosures over the last week. Mr. Akbar’s basic theme: with elections round the corner, these charges are motivated. There is a second, more specific line in his attempted defence — one that suggests that the gravamen of the charges is vague and unsubstantiated. While it is true that not every one of the dozen or so women have claimed they were physically assaulted, the overall picture they have painted is that of a systematic pattern of sexual harassment.”
- “Mr Akbar’s conspiracy theory that the #MeToo charges have settled upon him because elections are now looming is weak and totally unconvincing. He has no political heft and a conspiracy to tarnish him and secure his speedy exit from the Narendra Modi government would have left it none the weaker.”
- “By failing to immediately force him to step down, Mr. Modi has sent an unfortunate message about his government’s attitude to harassment and the protection of women in workspaces. He has appeared as if he is standing behind Mr. Akbar and will be perceived by many as having failed India’s women.”