Former Union Minister MJ Akbar was suspended from the Editors Guild of India on Wednesday night along with former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal over sexual harassment allegations against them.
In a statement, the Editors Guild said, "It has concurred with the majority view that Mr Akbar should be suspended from the Guild till such time that the court case he has filed is concluded. Using the same logic, the Office-bearers decided that Mr Tejpal too should be suspended from the Guild."
"The resignation of Mr MJ Akbar from Union council of ministers is a result of these women journalists' courage to fight for a high principle: gender equality in the newsroom. We hope that Mr Akbar will also display the grace to withdraw the criminal defamation case he has filed against one of these complainants," the statement read.
Journalist-turned-politician Akbar was named in the #MeToo movement by journalist Priya Ramani after which 20 other women came out to narrate their experience when he was still a journalist. Akbar had filed a criminal defamation suit against Priya Ramani.
The Editors Guild had asked Akbar to withdraw the case citing its support to Ramani.
Tarun Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of Tehelka, was accused of raping an employee in Goa in 2013 and a trial regarding the case is underway in Goa.
"The Editors Guild of India (EGI) had sought the views of its Executive Committee (EC) on what action should be taken against Mr M.J. Akbar, a dormant member at present and one of its past presidents, Mr Tarun Tejpal and Mr Gautam Adhikari in light of the charges of sexual misconduct levelled against them by several women journalists. A majority of the EC members suggested that the membership of Mr Akbar should be suspended," the statement added.
The journalist group also wrote a formal letter to DNA founding Editor Gautam Adhikari asking him for a response regarding the sexual misconduct allegations against him.