Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday extended his support for the #MeToo movement in India and said that it is time everyone learnt to treat women with respect and dignity. “I’m glad the space for those who don’t, is closing,” he said on Twitter. “The truth needs to be told loud and clear in order to bring about change.”
When he was asked about the movement on Thursday, Gandhi had not responded.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar is among those accused of sexually harassing women. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have evaded questions about the government’s position regarding Akbar.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi also endorsed the #MeToo campaign and said it should start a debate “and make people introspect”. “Truth should be told to the world,” she tweeted. “This is a step towards stopping sexual exploitation.”
She said women who “expose the faces behind the mask” should be encouraged. “Let the perpetrators be put on trial [and] not the victims.”
Union minister Smriti Irani on Thursday said the onus of making a statement on the allegations lies with Akbar but added that women who are revealing the names of their alleged harassers should not be victimised, mocked or shamed.
Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Dattatreya Hosabale on Thursday tweeted a screenshot of Facebook executive Ankhi Das’ post on the #MeToo movement and said he liked it.
Over the past week, several women, including journalists, have taken to social media to give detailed accounts of the sexual harassment and misconduct they faced. The campaign, which has been dubbed India’s #MeToo movement, has created a storm as several senior journalists, writers and media professionals have been accused of sexual misconduct.
Director Vikas Bahl, former Hindustan Times political editor Prashant Jha, actor Rajat Kapoor, Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah, are among dozens of those who have been accused of sexual misconduct since October 5.