Tensions escalate in Coimbatore after a 17-year-old girl, who was in Class 12, had committed suicide on Thursday by alleging that she was sexually harassed by a male teacher. The accused teacher Mithun Chakravarthy was attached to Chinmaya Vidyalaya School and the police had filed a case against him under the POCSO Act and retrieved the suicide note, that was left behind by the victim.
The girl was found dead by her father and the girl's close circle, including her parents and friends, had alleged that she was living under mental stress for a long time after she faced sexual assault and repeated harassment from Mithun Chakravarthy. It has been reported that the girl was facing sexual harassment from the teacher for over six months and her suicide had sparked outrage across the state and the demand to take action against the school has been rampant.
Addressing the media, the girl's mother has said that her daughter had even complained to the school's principal about the sexual harassment and the latter had asked her not to inform her parents about the assault. The school had also arranged for counselling during which the school management had asked the girl not to take the harassment seriously. The girl's mother further said that her daughter had asked to change the school repeatedly without revealing the reason that she was sexually harassed.
Mithun Chakravarthy had established a friendship with the girl over phone chats and he also had dropped her at her home once. Afterwards, he had begun to harass her and it has been alleged that the school management knows that she had been harassed. A friend of the deceased girl has said that Chakravarthy had sexually harassed her multiple times and his wife, who works in the same school and the principal were aware of such harassment. However, no action was taken.
At one time, the school management had promised the girl that Chakravarthy would be dismissed from the school. However, he wasn't dismissed. As he continued his atrocity through chats even after the girl had changed her school, she had ended her life on Thursday by committing suicide. The police had recovered the suicide note of the student in which she had mentioned the accused teacher and two others as the reason behind her death. Several groups had held protests across Coimbatore demanding the government to take action on the school and the teacher.
All India Democratic Association, Students' Federation of India, Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, and Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam had held protests on Friday outside the Coimbatore Collectorate demanding action against the teacher and the school. The protesters had urged to arrest the accused teacher under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and demanded stern action against the school.
Amid the protests, All Women's Police Station in RS Puram, Coimbatore, which probes the case, has on Friday registered a case against the teacher under IPC section 306 - abetment of suicide and section 9(L) - whoever commits sexual assault on the child more than once or repeatedly of the POCSO Act. On Saturday, the fellow students of the school had held protests in Coimbatore, seeking justice for their friend. According to reports, the students had held protests by wearing black shirts and had carried placards that read "We will not be silenced. Not this time" and "Justice for Pontharani".
Several unions had also moved a petition to the Coimbatore district Collector in which they demanded to arrest all the suspects including the higher officials of the school who were aware of such harassment, yet failed to take action. The unions had also urged to conduct an inquiry in the school on whether any other student had faced such sexual harassment and the district administration should roll out an awareness drive on sexual studies to every school and college in Coimbatore. On the other hand, the school principal had denied the allegations and claimed that the accused teacher Mithun Chakravarthy had resigned in September due to medical issues.