BJP's stand on allegations against MJ Akbar indicates government's intention to take on #MeToo campaign


Union Minister of State for Exterior Affairs MJ Akbar on Sunday didn’t simply refute allegations of creating sexual overtures, impropriety in public behaviour in direction of junior girls colleagues and even molestation, but in addition threatened authorized motion in opposition to those that levelled these accusations. His resolution to take action couldn’t have been taken with out clearance on the highest stage within the Bharatiya Janata Occasion and the federal government. Any alteration on this script will solely add to the embarrassment of the social gathering.

The choice, taken within the wake of seen righteous anger inside a bit of the social gathering and even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, together with by Union textiles minister Smriti Irani and Dattatreya Hosable, Sah-Sarakaryavaah (Joint Common Secretary), each of whom lent help to girls who spoke out as a part of the #MeTooIndia marketing campaign on Twitter, reveals that the highest management determined to go strictly by legalities.

Clearly, this regime has been guided by the evaluation that asking or getting Akbar to stop would undermine its picture of a strong and decisive authorities. Clearly, the social gathering and authorities management doesn’t want the regime to be seen as weak-kneed and not sure of its earlier selections.

It doesn’t want to enable the impression to achieve forex that a couple of hundred Twitter warriors can fell one in all its members and dent the federal government’s picture. If Akbar had been requested to go, questions would have been additionally raised in regards to the high quality of background checks accomplished earlier than an individual is inducted into excessive positions of the federal government.

Minister of state MJ Akbar at his residence on Sunday. PTI

Provided that the Akbar episode has performed out so near the costs in opposition to the American decide Brett Kavanaugh, whose affirmation to the nation’s Supreme Court docket was backed by President Donald Trump regardless of a plethora of credible accusations, the Indian public will discover paradoxical parallels between Trump’s stance on accusations in opposition to a decide chosen by him for the very best court docket and this regime.

The phrases of Trump ultimately week’s swearing-in ceremony of decide Kavanaugh should be recalled. He started by apologising to the decide and his household for the “horrible ache and struggling you might have been compelled to endure” and remarked that anybody who stepped ahead to “serve our nation deserves a good and dignified analysis, not a marketing campaign of political and private destruction based mostly on lies and deception.”

BJP president Amit Shah, in his remarks just lately, had specified the necessity to confirm if the allegations have been right or not. He had mentioned, “Now we have to test the veracity of the submit and the one that posted it,” including the preposterous suggestion that another person might have been posting these tweets on behalf of the ladies journalists. Clearly, by then, the BJP had determined that they might be guided strictly by authorized proof in opposition to Akbar and never by social media posts. It’s a quirk of destiny {that a} regime which owes significantly to social media for being in workplace, now needs to delegitimise the dominant narrative on it.

Akbar’s assertion displays the conclusion of the social gathering that fees in opposition to him can’t be confirmed in any court docket of legislation. Or, as Akbar identified in his assertion, most of the eleven girls journalists acknowledged he didn’t “do” something: “If I did not do something, the place and what’s the story? There isn’t any story. This was admitted on the very inception. However a sea of innuendo, hypothesis and abusive diatribe has been constructed round one thing that by no means occurred. Some are whole, unsubstantiated rumour; others affirm, on the file, that I didn’t do something..”

The reasoning inside the BJP to go strictly by authorized proof to again the costs was palpable even earlier than Shah’s assertion and one unnamed BJP chief was quoted in a report as just about ruling out Akbar’s resignation: “Essentially the most stringent motion that the federal government might provoke in opposition to Akbar was launching an off-the-cuff inquiry in opposition to the journalist-turned-politician,” the report mentioned.)

The similarity between Trump and the Modi regime’s defence of decide Kavanaugh and Akbar is obvious within the American president’s argument that those that “serve” the nation want higher remedy. Akbar didn’t ask for such a privilege, however in his assertion he used an innuendo: the accusations have been politically motivated. “Why has this storm risen a couple of months earlier than a normal election? Is there an agenda? You be the decide,” Akbar requested, virtually accusing the ladies journalists and those that have lent help to the #MeTooIndia — this contains Hosabale paradoxically — of being a part of the plan to defeat the BJP in 2019.

The federal government and the BJP have by no means had a lot love misplaced for a bit of the media and journalists. Akbar’s insinuation provides to the social gathering marketing campaign that liberal India, and the part of the media which is a part of that group, is basically anti-national and backs forces, together with left-wing extremists, out to destroy the nation.

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Already, a marketing campaign is underway on social media pointing to the coincidence that most of the girls (and males) who’ve both immediately levelled fees or have backed those that made the costs, are recognized for his or her writing essential of the Modi authorities. It is just a rare journalist who, whereas being supportive of the Modi authorities’s insurance policies, has additionally been dissatisfied with Akbar’s refusal to place in his papers.

When Akbar makes use of the phrase “agenda”, it’s tough to disregard that this phrase has been used repeatedly by BJP spokespersons to allege that critics, together with sections of the media, have an agenda. It’s unlikely that he would have made such an assertion with out clearance. Clearly, the social gathering is of the opinion that offence is the very best coverage and within the coming days, one can count on extra pointed criticism of the #MeTooIndia storm.

The federal government evidently believes that the storm over Akbar and #MeTooIndia might be weathered. However in making an attempt to guard its picture of not bending to public stress, it has put in danger perception in its public dedication to enhance the situation of ladies within the nation via its flagship programmes like Beti Bachao Beti Padao and its guarantees to make work areas safer for ladies. The problems raised via this social media marketing campaign will proceed inflicting a lot ache to the BJP in the course of the battle for 2019.

Community 18, of which Firstpost is a component, has obtained complaints of sexual harassment as properly. The complaints that are inside the purview of the office have been forwarded to our PoSH committee for applicable motion.

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