Hours after Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP) C Sylendra Babu — who is also the head of the police force (HoPF) in the state — directed the Chennai City Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against the teachers of Kalakshetra, the National Commission for Women (NCW) wrote to the top cop to close the complaint.
Confirming the move on Saturday, 25 March, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma told South First that the commission had written a letter to the HoPF in this regard.
“Till someone comes forward and complains, how can we move forward? There are contradictory reports and no one has come to us till now to complain. Contradictory reports are coming in from the on media and social media,” she said.
On 22 March, the commission issued a series of directives to the Tamil Nadu DGP after taking cognizance of reports on the sexual harassment allegations against Kalakshetra and instructed it to register an FIR against the accused teacher and also against the director of Kalakshetra for allegedly shielding the accused.
The commission also sought a thorough, fair, and time-bound investigation and to arrest the accused persons. The NCW chairperson also called for a detailed action-taken report.
The DGP forwarded the communication of NCW to the Chennai City Commissioner of Police for necessary action and sought an action-taken report as well.
On Saturday morning, Kalakshetra issued a statement denying all allegations and requested the NCW to consider the actions already taken.
In the statement, the Kalakshetra management said: “The foundation has a robust and active Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), constituted as per the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Visakha’s case, which comprises of the director, two faculty members/teachers, and an experienced lady lawyer.”
It also said a detailed inquiry was conducted over two and a half months to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.
“It was found that the allegations were unfounded. During this period, Kalakshetra Foundation has not received any active complaints as per the guidelines of the PoSH,” it added.
Meanwhile, a former student, requesting anonymity, asked: “How come the NCW asked for the probe to be dropped when the police haven’t started their preliminary investigation? How will the victims come forward to complain about their sufferings?”
She added: “Hours after the DGP directed the police to conduct an inquiry, Kalakshetra issued a denial statement and the NCW wrote to the cops on the same day to drop the investigation. Every victim needs time to come out, and it is not given to them.”
The student also said: “It is very apparent that efforts are being made by the Kalakshetra management to bury the issue.”