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Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 12:06 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 12:06 AM (IST)

Time up for Akbar

Step aside or prove the #MeToo charges wrong
Time up for Akbar

As skeletons tumble out of MJ Akbar’s dark closet with alarming frequency in the form of his former women subordinates narrating harrowing tales of sexual harassment, he may well turn out to be the Harvey Weinstein of the Indian media industry. Already, nine of his former colleagues have taken the #MeToo route to call out his sexually predatory behaviour as editor. The common thread running through the explicitly hellish stories is one of a powerful boss misusing his position. He would pick on young professionals, lure them with jobs and plum assignments, summon them to posh hotels for interviews and try to force himself on them even as they had little redress to fall back on during the 90s. That being a known writer he was looked up to by wannabes with awe only traumatised them more as his true colours came to the fore.

Nemesis has finally caught up with him and more such offenders in the media and entertainment fields. Emboldened by the relatively supportive and sympathetic #MeToo movement, India’s victims of sexual misconduct are also baring their old scars to expose the men who had earlier escaped unscathed in the oppressively patriarchal setups they created. It seems to be the beginning of ``time up’’ for such predators even as society scrambles to find ways — both legally and socially — to deal with this newfound aggressive non-tolerance by women to the assault of their private space comprising both body and mind. Significantly, in cases of sexual transgression, shame is now being directed at the perpetrators rather than the hapless victims. This is an encouraging trend. It needs to penetrate every section of society for true emancipation of women from regressive social shackles.

Then there is the added impetus of both the judiciary and the government actively promoting women’s causes. In such circumstances, it is morally incumbent upon the beleaguered ‘Super Editor’, now Minister of State for External Affairs in the NDA government, to take a call on the demand for his resignation as the flood of charges shifts the onus of proving his innocence on him.


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