Kalakshetra Students Staged Protest Against Faculties Citing S*xual Harassment !!
Written by Surithi J Published on Mar 31, 2023 | 19:08 PM IST | 188
Kalakshetra Foundation, a top arts and cultural academy in Chennai, A group of students staged a protest at the Kalakshetra Foundation, demanding action against four senior male faculty members who have been accused of sexual harassment. The protest came after the students were disappointed with the response of the Foundation to their complaints against a senior male dancer who was set to perform a dance drama on Friday. The senior male dancer had been accused of sexual harassment, but the Foundation’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) had found no truth in the complaints.
also read : Kalakshetra : Legacy of Rukmini Devi Arundale
Despite the ICC’s findings, the National Commission for Women (NCW) decided to inform the Tamil Nadu DGP Sylendra Babu to file an FIR against the alleged perpetrator and Kalakshetra’s director Revathi Ramachandran for allegedly shielding him. The Chennai police began an investigation on March 20.
On Thursday, four teachers were accused of sexually harassing the students, and their names were revealed during the protests. The students demanded that the accused be rusticated from the institution, and they released a poster on social media asking youngsters to stand by them to “put an end” to the “sexual harassment and misconduct” on the campus, which they claimed had been going on for a long time.
One of the protesting students told reporters that Kalakshetra had been dismissive of their complaints, and they did not take them seriously. She added that if they did not unite, they would never get justice. She also mentioned that one of the alleged perpetrators, who had been sexually harassing them, was set to perform the following day. She stated that if this continued, there would be no safety for the students and future students.
The Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts (under Kalakshetra) was closed from March 30 to April 6, and the students were asked to vacate the hostel within two days with immediate effect. The circular stated that the exams scheduled for those days were postponed, and new dates would be announced in due course. The students accused the institution of threatening them with the circular instead of addressing the issue of sexual harassment.
The complaints of sexual harassment came into the public domain when Kalakshetra’s former director, Leela Samson, wrote a Facebook post last December about how several students were facing sexual harassment under a teacher who was abusing his position of power. Samson did not name the alleged perpetrator but named the survivors. She has since deleted the post.
Here is the video :
Raising allegations of body shaming and sexual harassment, students from Kalakshetra Foundation in Tamil Nadu's Chennai hold a sit-in protest demanding the removal of those involved.#ReporterDiary (@PramodMadhav6) pic.twitter.com/ZSCO5Fmae0
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) March 30, 2023
CAREspaces, a non-profit organization based out of the US, released a statement in December 2022 stating that they would support survivors and allies in Kalakshetra since many allegations of abuse of power, controlling opportunities for personal gains, and actively neglecting complaints had surfaced.
Last week, a complaint was filed in the Adyar police station by one of the women from Kalakshetra against former director Samson for naming her in a Facebook post saying that she is not a victim. The NCW’s chairperson, Rekha Sharma, reportedly went to the Kalakshetra campus on Wednesday regarding the complaints. On March 25, Kalakshetra released a statement requesting the NCW to consider the action already taken and welcome further inquiry if not satisfied.
— Nrithya (@nrithyapillai) March 30, 2023
In response to Kalakshetra’s statement, Carnatic musician T M Krishna wrote an open letter addressed to Kalakshetra’s chairman, S Ramadorai. Krishna stated that the lack of sensitivity, aggressive tone, and dismissiveness were unbecoming of the institution. He urged the chairman to take action to address these “very serious complaints.”
The protests at Kalakshetra have highlighted the need for institutions to take sexual harassment complaints seriously and to provide a safe environment for students to learn and pursue their passions. The students’ demand for justice and their refusal
Watch video here :
— The Hindu – Chennai (@THChennai) March 30, 2023
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