Kalakshetra sexual harassment allegations | State Commission for Women to submit report to T.N. government

Chairperson of the Commission, A.S. Kumari, held a five-hour inquiry with the protesting students on Friday; she said a report would be given to the government by Monday; the Director would be called in for an enquiry as well, she said

March 31, 2023 04:56 pm | Updated 06:17 pm IST - CHENNAI

Kalakshetra Foundation at Chennai on March 31, 2023

Kalakshetra Foundation at Chennai on March 31, 2023 | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

The Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women’s chairperson, A.S. Kumari, said she would present a report to the State government on Monday, after going through the complaints given to her, regarding sexual harassment, presented by the students at Kalakshetra Foundation.

Students of the Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts at the Foundation, have been staging a sit-in protest in the premises since Thursday night, and have made allegations against four faculty members for verbal and sexual harassment. They have also sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture in this regard.

Ms. Kumari conducted a five-hour enquiry with the protesting students at the auditorium of the Kalakshetra Foundation in Thiruvanmiyur, on Friday, and said action would be initiated based on the report submitted to the State government. 

Ms. Kumari said an enquiry was held with 12 students individually, and through virtual mode with five other students, and nearly 100 written complaints have been received against four teachers in the college. She said as the complaints given by the students were confidential, they would be presented only in the report, along with proof. She said: “Maybe a press meet could also be held after the report is submitted.” 

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, also made an announcement in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, stating that action would be taken on the sexual harassment complaints.

Regarding cooperation from the management of Kalakshetra Foundation, Ms. Kumari pointed out that both the Director and the Deputy Director were not present. The Director was not well. She said “I met the Principal, who also did not come to the auditorium.” She said the Director would be called for an enquiry as well.

Ms. Kumari informed the media that she had advised the students to call off their protest and concentrate on their studies, assuring them that the State government would take necessary steps to protect them. The students also informed her that they would call off the protest but have raised a demand to sit their exams, which were to start from Monday. Ms. Kumari said the matter would be taken up with the Director, as the institute had announced a holiday for six days.

The students, she said, were keen to sit their exams to showcase their talents and had booked their tickets to go back to their hometowns after April 12, the chairperson added.

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