The police have launched a search to trace Hari Padman, an assistant professor of the Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, under the Kalakshetra Foundation, who went on the run after a criminal case was filed against him.
On Thursday, students of the Kalakshetra Foundation began an indefinite protest demanding the dismissal of four staff members who have all been accused of inappropriate behaviour and sexual abuse.
In a letter to the Union Ministry of Culture, the students said the current and former students had faced sexual and verbal harassment for a long time by Hari Padman and three others. The students called off the protest temporarily on Friday following State Commission for Women Chief A.S.Kumari assuring them that action would be taken and after the police filed a case.
On Friday, the all-women police, Adyar, registered a case against Hari Padman on a complaint from the woman student, who had studied under him from 2015 to 2019. He was booked under Section 354-A (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code and the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Woman Act.
The lone complainant said that the whole truth would be revealed if the five others who were in Kerala now could be inquired. A special team of police personnel have gone to Kerala to record their statements, police sources said.
Sources added that after the registration of the case, the suspect has switched off his mobile and went on the run. “We are collecting evidence and recording statements of witnesses. Efforts are on to trace him and take further action,” a senior police officer said.