* Minister denies allegations of sexual impropriety
* Critics have called on Akbar to resign
* #MeToo movement having growing impact in India
Indian minister M.J. Akbar described multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him as "wild and baseless" on Sunday and added he plans to take legal action against the women who have made the accusations.
The comments by Akbar, 67, follow widespread calls on social media for his resignation from his post as the minister of state for external affairs in the Indian government, after at least 10 women came forward to accuse him of harassment in recent days.
"The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice," said Akbar in a one-page statement given to Reuters partner ANI in India.
The veteran editor, who founded several publications, has been accused of a range of inappropriate behaviour by female journalists who previously worked as his subordinates.
Many journalists have called for Akbar to be sacked and have threatened to boycott events he is attending until he resigns.
The government has remained silent on the issue for days, while Akbar was attending a conference in Nigeria. He returned to New Delhi on Sunday morning to find a crowd of reporters waiting outside his residence.
Akbar said he plans to fight the allegations and questioned if they were politically motivated.
"Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge," he said.
Harinder Baweja, one of the women who has accused Akbar, criticised his response.
"All the women who tried to deal with the trauma for two to three decades and were now encouraged to share their pain, had the general election in mind. How absurd," said Baweja, a senior journalist with the daily Hindustan Times, on Twitter on Sunday.
#MeToo in indiaAkbar is one of the highest profile figures so far to face accusations in India's burgeoning #MeToo movement.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Indian states impose stricter lockdowns as coronavirus deaths hit record high
India hits 4,000 virus deaths in a day; States impose lockdowns
India’s opposition leader warns of ‘explosive’ Covid-19 wave
India's opposition demands faster vaccinations after 1.5 mn new Covid cases in a week
Coronavirus spread to rural India sparks fresh concern
Covid spreading in rural India; record daily rises in infections, deaths
As Covid-19 rages in India, scientist warns further waves 'inevitable'
India announces $6.7 billion to help vaccine, health firms boost pandemic battle
EU, India ‘to revive stalled trade talks’