A member of the faculty at Kalakshetra has been booked based on a written complaint submitted by one of its alumni.
The alumna lodged the complaint of sexual harassment at the Adayar Police Station.
According to sources, the former student mentioned in the complaint that she was subjected to harassment through text messages and phone calls by this particular male staff member in 2019.
This was apparently the first complaint against the Kalakshetra faculty.
The police subsequently booked the faculty member, identified as one Sri Hari Padman, under Sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 (penalty for harassment of woman) of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Woman Act.
Meanwhile, the Additional Commissioner of Chennai City Police had stated earlier that the cops would take action only if there was any written complaint.
Students’ statements recorded
More than 17 students of Kalakshetra deposed before the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women on Friday, 31 March, on the harassment they allegedly faced from the senior faculty members at the institution.
The commission’s Chairperson AS Kumari visited the institution and conducted an inquiry with the students for five hours.
Nearly 100 students had reportedly given written complaints about various kinds of harassment they faced at the institution.
Kumari reportedly spoke to students who are in Hyderabad for a performance with the teachers against whom the allegations had been levelled.
“I talked to five students — who are in Hyderabad — through video conferencing and 12 students in person at the campus. All their statements are recorded and a report will be submitted to the government on Monday,” she said.
The allegations were from 2008, and a few members of the alumni have also come forward to record their statement on the sexual harassment they underwent in the institution, said Kumari.
“I have asked them to file a formal complaint before the commission,” she added.
“It was a surprise visit. As the director and deputy director of the institution were not available. I could not meet them. But I will meet the director either tomorrow or another day. I have assured prompt action to the students and also asked them to give up their protest,” Kumari said.
Meanwhile, the accused faculty members, who were sent to Hyderabad for a performance at the CCRT campus in Madhapur on Friday, were recalled to Chennai.
The performance of the faculty members at the Ramayana Kalpavrksam event was changed by the organisers, Kalakshetra sources told the South First.
(This story has been updated correcting the spelling of the name of booked the faculty member.)