India’s own #MeToo has hit the Narendra Modi government. Veteran scribe M.J. Akbar, a junior minister of external affairs, has been accused by at least six women journalists of sexual harassment when he was editor.
The Indian Express has made this its lead story today. With this, The Express has been showcasing the #MeToo fallout for the fourth day running, and that too prominently on the front page.
Occupying parallel space on the front page in The Indian Express is the allegation of rape against actor Alok Nath. Script-writer Vinta Nanda has accused him of repeated sexual assault when they worked together in Mumbai 19 years ago.
The Times of India puts the Alok Nath report in a small column on the front page, but there’s no mention of the allegations against M.J. Akbar. The mind is boggled by the discrimination in cold print, considering both allegations have been made on social media.
The Hindi paper Amar Ujala, too, skips the allegations against M.J. Akbar, but puts the allegations against Alok Nath on its front page. Punjab Kesri treats the report a little differently, writing about the government’s silence over the allegations. Interestingly, the pro-BJP Dainik Jagran skips the news altogether, while Dainik Bhaskar, widely seen as more critical of the BJP and the government, leads with the M.J. Akbar story.
The Telegraph, which has been consistently reporting the #MeToo story as it develops, reports on its front page, “BJP and Congress silent on #MeToo claims, fear that it may lead to more allegations and counter-allegations”.
In its inside pages, Hindustan Times uses Congress leader Manish Tewari to ask a question on the M.J. Akbar allegations, writing, “Congress seeks probe against minister M.J. Akbar”.
Smita Sharma of The Tribune tried to elicit a response from external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on the allegations against M.J. Akbar, but without any success. A video of the encounter subsequently went viral.
Meanwhile, the spate of violent attacks on workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in Gujarat continued Tuesday.
The Indian Express has given prominence to allegations that Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor and his Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena incited the violence.
In detailed coverage of the violence in the inside pages, Hindustan Times reports Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s statement about the reasons for the violence in Gujarat.
Rahul blamed the poor economic policies of the Modi government for the closure of industries in Gujarat and rising friction between migrant workers and locals.
The Times of India has put the news on the front page, detailing the horror stories of the victims who faced violence. Allegations that a migrant worker raped a minor last week in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat is said to have triggered the violence.
The Gujarat question
India Today led a debate on the spate of attacks on migrant labourers in Gujarat, which has reportedly forced more than 40,000 people to flee the state in the past few days.
Congress leader Mukesh Bharwad said, “What is taking place in Gujarat is totally unacceptable, these incidents should not take place anywhere in the country.”
BJP spokesperson Narendra Taneja retorted, “These violent incidents are taking place under the strict instructions of Rahul Gandhi in order to create unrest in the country.”
Let’s talk about Alpesh Thakor
Republic TV asked if there should be a detailed probe against Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor for allegedly instigating violence against migrants in Gujarat.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “If Rahul Gandhi is actually worried for Gujarat, Bihar and India, then he must immediately expel Alpesh Thakor from the party. This is what the BJP demands from Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party.”
Syed Aslam of the Janata Dal (Secular) replied, “Accept the fact that there is absolute lawlessness in Gujarat (led by BJP). The government is not able to protect the interests of people. Who is responsible for this?”
News it’s just kinda cool to know
Beverage companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle have been found to be the world’s biggest producers of plastic waste, according to a report by environment group Greenpeace, Reuters reports.