National Commission for Women decides to close Kalakshetra sexual harassment case

Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu says he received a communication from the National Commission for Women and also two complaints that misinformation was being spread on social media

March 26, 2023 12:42 am | Updated 12:05 pm IST - Chennai

The Kalakshetra Auditorium. File

The Kalakshetra Auditorium. File | Photo Credit: N. SRIDHARAN

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has communicated to the Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police that it had decided to close the Kalakshetra complaint, based on media reports and the fact that women refused to confirm sexual harassment at the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) meeting. 

DGP C. Sylendra Babu confirmed that he had indeed received communication in this regard on Saturday from the NCW.

“The NCW has come to a conclusion to close the matter on the grounds of media reports and the alleged victim having denied that she preferred a complaint. We received a communication to this effect from the NCW,” he told The Hindu

The NCW on Thursday tweeted directing the DGP to file an FIR against a teacher accused of sexually harassing minor students in Kalakshetra. 

The NCW had sought a thorough and time-bound investigation into the issue and a detailed action report be sent to it. 

Complaints to police

On Saturday, the management of the institution and a 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. 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.”

Charges baseless: Kalakshetra

Meanwhile, Kalakshetra Foundation, in a letter released to the media, claimed a detailed inquiry conducted over social media allegations of sexual harassment revealed that they were unfounded and baseless.

In a statement on Saturday, Foundation chairman S. Ramadorai said the ICC had suo motu initiated an inquiry based on charges made on social media. The issue was reported on a news website on March 21. A detailed inquiry 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. 

The issue of sexual harassment by a male teacher was brought to limelight after recent media reports.

Mr. Ramadorai said the Foundation responded to the NCW on Saturday and placed before it the facts and the action taken. 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 further investigation if it felt that the action taken 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.”

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