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Sexual harassment charges in Kalakshetra: Students protest, hostels shut till Apr 6


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Chennai: In the eye of sexual harassment row, the Kalakshetra Foundation, one of the most prestigious dance institutions in the city founded by Rukmini Arundale, has declared
holiday for its hostels till April six following student’s protest, demanding action.

Kalashetra college has ordered closure of its hostels till April 6 after student’s staged a day long protest yesterday, demanding a safe space to speak about sexual harassment and action on the sexual harassment allegations at the institute.

All students in the college hostel are ordered to vacate within two days, it said.

After the allegations of sexual harassment by a Professor surfaced, the Insitute held an internal inquiry and said the charges were totally unfounded and baseless.

During the probe, none of the students came forward to lodge any complaint on alleged sexual harassment, it said. The National Commission for Women (NCW) took up suo motu
cognisance of the incident, issued notice to which the Institution replied and said it was ready to make any further clarifications on the issue.

The City Police launched an investigation and concluded that the charges were not proved.

Today, the students walked out of the usual morning prayers and and staged a sit in protest by carrying placards and demanded action against an Assistant Professor of Dance, against whom sexual harassment charges were levelled.

One of the students, while speaking to a Tamil TV channel, claimed that the professor has been gazing the students in an inappropriate manner and it has been happening for quite sometime.

“I can definitely understand about that gazing”, she said. “I don’t have evidence…but I am the evidence”, she told the channel. On March 26, the Kalakshetra foundation submitted a clarification and a report of their internal investigations into the sexual harassment complaint against one of their instructors to Chennai City Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal.

After media reports about sexual harassment by one of the instructors in the central government-funded institute, the NCW wrote to the Tamil Nadu DGP to look into the allegations.

The protest was held on the campus after NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma made a visit to the institute to enquire into the allegations of sexual harassment at the institution.

Kalakshetra, as the name suggests, is a centre for artistic endeavour. Founded in 1936 by the vibrant visionary Rukmini Devi Arundale, the Institution stands testimony to her dream of creating a space where the essence of Indian thought would find expression through artistic education.

An institution she established with the vision “of imparting to the young the true spirit of Art, devoid of vulgarity and commercialism.”

Spread over almost 100 acres close to the seashore in Chennai, the Kalakshetra Foundation, as it is known today, is a vital centre for the study and performance of fine arts.


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