Director Sajid Khan has been suspended for one year by Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) over the sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by several women following an investigation. IFTDA said in a statement that acting on the recommendations of the Internal Complaints Committee’s (ICC), it has suspended Sajid’s membership with immediate effect, which will be reviewed after a year.
Sajid had been accused of sexual harassment by three women, among them was actress Saloni Chopra, a journalist and another actor.
“The reason we have set up a committee is to assure women and men that there is an avenue, which is gender neutral, for seeking redressal if they have been wronged by someone,” IFTDA president Ashoke Pandit said.
“By suspending Sajid for a year, we have only tried to put forth a word that there is redressal as long as you have the courage to speak up and bring out the complete truth, better late than never,” he added.
Ashoke believes the increasing awareness about the POSH Act guidelines and the #MeTooIndia Movement have encouraged women to speak up.
“It has given them the confidence to speak against sexual harassment. A complainant, who shows courage to speak against unwelcome behaviour regardless of who is the perpetrator, is not merely an object of pity or sympathy, but a survivor setting the world on fire with her truth. Now, it’s our duty to uproot such unwelcome behaviour around us,” he added.
Sajid, who was working on his next directorial venture Housefull 4, had to step away from the project following the allegations against him.
The committee, in a statement, said the allegations in the complaints are serious instances of sexual harassment, unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, unwarranted contact by poking and advances, demands for sexual favours and abuse of power by Sajid.
Sajid was given an opportunity to put forth his defence but he did not give any explanation, response or defence to the allegations.