Kalakshetra Assistant Professor Hari Padman arrested over sexual harassment allegations

Following the arrest of Hari Padman and Women's Commission summons to the director, the management had called for an emergency board meeting.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Apr 03, 2023 | 12:20 PMUpdatedApr 03, 2023 | 12:20 PM

Kalakshetra sexual misconduct

The Chennai City Police arrested an assistant professor of Kalakshetra, Hari Padman, on Monday, 3 April, based on a complaint by a former student on the charges of sexual harassment.

On Friday, a woman who had studied at Kalakshetra, filed a complaint before the Adayar police stating that the assistant professor had harassed her via text messages and voice calls, in 2019.

Based on her complaint, the Adayar police booked him the same day under Sections 354A (sexual harassment), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 4 (the penalty for harassment of woman) of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.

Related: Kalakshetra faculty member booked for sexual harassment

Tracing the absconder

Hari Padman Kalkshetra sexual harassment

Sri Hari Padman of Kalakshetra. (Supplied)

Since the assistant professor was absconding after the FIR was filed, a special team was formed by the Adayar police to trace him.

The police confirmed that Hari Padman had left Hyderabad on Friday evening, after a performance scheduled there was cancelled.

Since his mobile phone was switched off, the police conducted an inquiry with his family and close circle of friends.

In the wee hours of Monday, the police found that he had taken asylum at a friend’s house in Madhavaram near Chennai.

A team of Adayar police reached the house and picked up Hari Padman, who was then taken to the Adayar police station for a preliminary inquiry. His mobile phone was also confiscated.

According to a senior police officer, after a preliminary inquiry and a proper medical check-up, he will be produced before the concerned magistrate.

He also said that they will be seeking police custody of the arrested for further enquiry.

Hari Padman is a senior faculty at Kalakshetra and is also one of the principal dancers of the Kalakshetra Repertory Company (the performance wing of the institution).

More than 17 students of the institute deposed before Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women Chairperson AS Kumari against him on 31 March, during her visit to the institute.

Related: Protests rock Kalakshetra over sexual harassment allegations

Emergency board meeting

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu State Women’s Commission summoned Kalakshetra Director Revathi Ramachandran and Deputy Director S Padmavathy to appear before it.

The commission had directed their appearance on 3 April for an enquiry on the allegations levelled against the faculty by the students.

Following the arrest of Hari Padman and the State Women’s Commission summons to the director, the Kalakshetra management had called for an emergency board meeting on the morning of 3 April.

Earlier, the students of Kalakshetra, who protested seeking action against the senior faculty stated that though they called off their protest, they would get back to the regular curriculum only after their demands — including the dismissal of faculty members Hari Padman, Sanjith Lal, Sai Krishnan, and Sreenath — are met.

It is to be noted that the Kalakshetra had announced the closure of the institute and hostel till 6 April following the protest by the students.