Detailed enquiry reveals sexual harassment allegations to be baseless, claims Kalakshetra Foundation

A statement from the Foundation’s chairman, S. Ramadorai, said a scurrilous campaign was being carried out through social media posts, targeting some faculty members and attempting to malign the institution’s credibility; he said all the facts of the investigation had been placed before the National Commission of Women

March 25, 2023 12:48 pm | Updated March 26, 2023 01:57 am IST - CHENNAI

A view of the Bharata Kalakshetra auditorium at the Kalakshetra Foundation campus. File

A view of the Bharata Kalakshetra auditorium at the Kalakshetra Foundation campus. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A detailed enquiry conducted over social media allegations of sexual harassment at Chennai’s Kalakshetra Foundation have revealed that they were unfounded and baseless, the organisation has said.

In a statement on Saturday, the Foundation’s chairman, S. Ramadorai said the Internal Complaints Committee had suo motu initiated an enquiry based on charges made on social media. The issue was reported on a news website on March 21, 2023. A detailed enquiry had been conducted for over two and a half months to ascertain the veracity of the online complaints. The Foundation itself did not receive any complaints as per the guidelines of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, he said.

It may be recalled that the issue of sexual harassment by a male teacher was brought to limelight after recent media reports.

The National Commission of Women (NCW) had also issued a tweet directing the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu to file an FIR against a teacher accused of sexually harassing minor students in Kalakshetra. The NCW had also sought a thorough and time-bound investigation into the issue and a detailed action report be sent to it.

Mr. Ramadorai noted that the Foundation had responded to the NCW on Saturday and placed before it the facts and the action initiated by the Foundation. This has been notified to other authorities, including the Union Ministry of Culture.

While urging the NCW to consider the action taken, the Foundation welcomed the NCW to investigate further if it felt that the action taken by Kalakshetra was unsatisfactory.

Mr. Ramadorai said a scurrilous campaign was being carried out through social media posts, with the posts targeting some faculty members and attempting to malign the institution’s credibility. He reiterated that the institution stood by its commitment to provide an inclusive and safe space for every artist, student and staff member.

Underlining principles of the institution, founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale, the statement said “the relationship between the Guru and Shishya is sacrosanct, more so when these students have been entrusted to our care by their parents in full faith that the Foundation will protect and take care of them.”

NCW to close case

Meanwhile, police sources said the DGP had received a communication from the NCW on Saturday stating that it decided to close the case as victims denied sexual harassment during the ICC meeting.

On Saturday, the management of the institution and a woman student gave two complaints to the police alleging that misinformation was being circulated on social media. The student said her name was being used as a complainant to the ICC, but that was not the case, she added. They sought action against those spreading the information on social media.

A senior police officer said: “We have received two complaints and are exploring the options to proceed on them. We will take suitable action accordingly.”

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