Chennai Dance Academy's Professor Arrested On Sexual Harassment Charge
An assistant professor at a prestigious institution for classical arts in Tamil Nadu has been arrested based on a sexual harassment complaint filed by a former student, officials have said.
Hari Padman, who teaches dance at Kalakshetra Foundation’s Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, was arrested this morning by the city police.
The former student who had discontinued her post graduate programme at the institute a few years ago, allegedly because of sexual harassment by the professor told NDTV “He once sought sexual favours. He asked me to come to his home saying none would get to know”.
She added, “He took on me for saying no. He took me away from an important role in a dance”.
Last week, in a complaint to AR Kumari, the chief of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women, around ninety male and female students alleged sexual harassment, body-shaming and verbal abuse by the professor. They have also named three other repertory artists.
“The complaints include sexual abuse and sexual harassment of female and male students by a faculty member and three repertory artists,” AR Kumari had told NDTV last week after visiting the institute.
The students also allege that the administration has been indifferent and unresponsive to their complaints
“We used to get inappropriate text messages from them. They gave low grades and denied us opportunities” for not cooperating with them,” an undergraduate student said.
The Kalakshetra Foundation, which runs the institution, had earlier denied the allegations and called them a disinformation campaign.
The students also wrote to the Union Minister G Kishan Reddy and Chief Minister MK Stalin, seeking the removal of Director Revathi Ramachandran for alleged inaction and the reconstitution of the internal complaints committee.
Mr Stalin had said in the assembly that no written complaints had been received yet, but that the revenue and police departments were investigating the matter. “Legal action will be taken against whoever is found guilty,” he said, also tacitly suggesting a flip-flop by the National Commission for Women for first seeking action on the issue and then putting brakes on it.
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