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'Outsider Tag, Lack of Evidence': Despite MeToo Storm Hitting MJ Akbar, Here's Why RSS Remains Mum

There are some right-wing intellectuals associated with the Sangh who think that Akbar is "not from BJP, and has been close to different political parties, including Congress".

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:October 12, 2018, 2:28 PM IST
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'Outsider Tag, Lack of Evidence': Despite MeToo Storm Hitting MJ Akbar, Here's Why RSS Remains Mum
As the ‘Me Too’ movement gathers momentum in the country, allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced against union minister MJ Akbar. (Image: Reuters)
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New Delhi: There is clamor for sacking of Union minister MJ Akbar, who is accused of sexually harassing nine women. In this whirlpool of statements and comments, there has been no official statement from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Rashtra Sevika Samiti.

No wonder that a tweet by Sangh joint secretary Dattatreya Hosabale, sharing a post of former JNU student and Facebook employee Ankhi Das, has given a sneak peek into the RSS's stand over the issue. It seems that they are largely supportive of the movement.

News18.com discussed the issue with some RSS functionaries to know what they are thinking about #MeToo and why haven't they come out openly to give their point of view.

Because Akbar is an Outsider?

The movement has just got more amplified with Union minister MJ Akbar being named in cases of sexual harassment. And as RSS is considered the parent body of BJP, it is quite natural to think how Sangh would take these allegations of sexual harassment on the Union minister.

Is it not in good for the NDA government in power? In a chat with some RSS functionaries, News18 felt that the Sangh is waiting for the government to take suitable action. Sangh would like to keep away from any official stand in this case. "MJ Akbar is traveling but once he is back, the government will do something about it... More importantly he is not from our background, there are people who brought him to the party. So I think, it is up to them to go ahead with the decision on the allegations made," a member said.

He emphasized Sangh's stand on sexual harassment. "We think that there should never be any compromise over the issue. Our organisation is always quick in handling these situations," the functionary claimed.

There are some right-wing intellectuals associated with the Sangh who think that Akbar is "not from BJP, and has been close to different political parties, including Congress".

But advocate Monika Arora believes that the #MeToo campaign demanding justice for women "should not be seen in this light of political affiliations – whether he is BJP or RSS. Once he returns, the principles of natural justice should be followed".

Too Stormy to Comment

The Sangh's pace of handling situations is not like a blitzkrieg. The effort is usually made one step at a time and focusing on solutions in removing societal ills. Hence, the sudden storm demanding justice after disclosures, allegations levelled against powerful men have made them hold on for some time.

"This issue is not about any one person, and we cannot individually pick a case and comment on it. There are many allegations made and most of them are without any evidence. If there is a comprehensive finding there will be a better picture of the scenario..." said an RSS insider.

The distance kept from #MeToo is quite in stark contract with RSS giving out statements after statement on Sabrimala verdict. In fact, V Shantha Kumari of Rashtra Sevika Samiti went to Kerala after the judgment to meet the two factions, opposing and supporting the verdict. The idea behind her visit and future visits is going to be to “build consensus over the issue of temple entry” and how it can be solved without taking to the streets.

This distance is also because Sangh leaders do not find evidence that can support these allegations of sexual harassment, and hence it might be too soon for them to come out with a word on the movement.

Societal Issues Take Time

The society has changed and it requires more than a legislation or law to meet its new demands. In the view of RSS members, one of them said, “We embraced co-education so now we have to work on gender sensitisation. We have to teach men that women are team leaders and not just women. There have been changes in society, women are in workplaces and society takes time to evolve a mechanism in dealing with it, let the society work on this," said an RSS leader.
| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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