MJ Akbar, a veteran journalist who is junior foreign minister, was named in a tweet by journalist Priya Ramani, who had first shared her account when the #MeToo campaign exploded in the US with the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
NEW DELHI: Union Minister and former editor MJ Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment in the
snowballing #MeToo movement in India that began with a thread on Twitter. His boss Sushma Swaraj, the
Union Foreign Minister, did not respond when she was asked today about any action against the minister.
“There are serious allegations…these are sexual harassment allegations. You are a woman minister in
charge. Will there be a probe on the allegations,” Tribune reporter Smita Sharma questioned Ms Swaraj.
The minister walked past without a word.
MJ Akbar is believed to be in Nigeria.
A veteran journalist and junior foreign minister, MJ Akbar was named in a tweet by journalist Priya
Ramani, who had first shared her account a year ago when the #MeToo campaign exploded in the US with
the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Several tweets had talked about “the editor who helmed a unputdownable newspaper” and similar hints
before the name was put out in the public domain.
Priya Ramani named him as the editor she had written about in a magazine article in October last year.
Priya Ramani had not named MJ Akbar when she wrote in the Vogue India article – addressed to “Dear Male
Boss” – about her experience after she was invited by him to a plush Mumbai hotel for an interview. He
allegedly called her to his room, offered her a drink and asked her to sit close to him.
“We’ll get you all one day,” was Ms Ramani’s parting shot in the article titled “To the Harvey
Weinsteins of the world”.
Harvey Weinstein, an Oscar-winning film producer, has been accused by multiple women of sexual
harassment and assault.
Delhi school divided: Hindu and Muslim students assigned to separate sections
“Of course children this young don’t know about religion, but they squabble over things. Some children
are vegetarian, so there may be differences, and so on. We need to look after the interests of all
teachers and students,” a staff member said.
New Delhi: A section of teachers employed by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has alleged that a
primary school in Wazirabad is segregating Hindu and Muslim students in different sections.
Attendance records of the North MCD Boys’ School, Wazirabad village, Gali Number 9, accessed and
analysed by The Indian Express, as of October 9, show the section-wise break up of students:
* Class IA: 36 Hindus, IB: 36 Muslims
* IIA: 47 Hindus, IIB: 26 Muslims and 15 Hindus, IIC: 40 Muslims
* IIIA: 40 Hindus, IIIB: 23 Hindus and 11 Muslims, IIIC: 40 Muslims, IIID: 14 Hindus and 23 Muslims
* IVA: 40 Hindus, IVB: 19 Hindus and 13 Muslims, IVC: 35 Muslims, IVD: 11 Hindus and 24 Muslims
* VA: 45 Hindus, VB: 49 Hindus, VC: 39 Muslims and 2 Hindus, VD: 47 Muslims
MCD schools offer education only till Class V and according to the Right To Education Act, each section
should ideally have 30 students at the primary level.
C B Singh Sehrawat, the teacher put in-charge of the school on July 2 after the principal was
transferred, denied deliberately segregating the students on the basis of religion. “Reshuffling of
sections is standard procedure which happens in all schools. This was a management decision to try and
do the best we can to see that there is peace, discipline and a good learning environment in the
school. Children fought sometimes.”
Asked if the fights were on the basis of religion, he said, “Of course children this young don’t know
about religion, but they squabble over things. Some children are vegetarian, so there may be
differences, and so on. We need to look after the interests of all teachers and students.”
A source in the school, however, said that the reshuffling of sections based on religion began only in
July this year after Sehrawat took over. The academic session began in April. “The principal was
transferred on July 2, after which a teacher was put in charge until a new principal is posted. He
initiated these changes and teachers were not consulted in the matter. When some teachers tried to
bring it up with him, he responded with aggression and told them that it was none of their concern and
that they should do their assigned jobs,” the source said.
According to the source, some teachers from the school went to the MCD zonal office in Civil Lines
around 20 days ago to tell authorities about the matter, but they did not put their grievances in
writing for fear of being targeted.
A senior official from the education department of the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi said, “Now
that this has been brought to our notice, we will definitely inquire about it. If the allegations are
true, strict action will be taken.”
Parents of students studying at the school told The Indian Express that they were not aware of this
reorganisation. A mother of a Class IV student denied that such segregation was taking place until her
son said, “There are no Hindu boys in my class. We were together until a few months back. A good friend
of mine is no longer in the same classroom.”
The mother of a Class I student, who was not aware of this development, said, “This is extremely wrong,
if true. We believe all children are equal. What is going to happen if they are treated like this at
the school level itself? This is very disturbing.”