Kalakshetra row: TN CM Stalin gives big assurance and students call off their protests!

In the midst of growing turmoil over the shocking sexual harassment allegations against four faculty members of the renowned Kalakshetra institution in Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has on Friday - March 31, assured that appropriate legal action will be taken if the allegations against the accused proven to be true. 

Kalakshetra Foundation is an arts and cultural academy that operates under the Union Ministry of Culture. Based in Chennai, the institution has a nationwide prominence and is known for its teaching in Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music. It has a long tradition of contributing to the culture and is one of the top destinations for the students to aspire in arts and culture. 

For the past few days, the institution is painting a grim story where the students have alleged that four faculty members - Hari Padman, Sanjith Lal, Sai Krishnan, and Sreenath have sexually harassed the students. In an unprecedented event, several students and staff of the institution had held protests inside the campus against the abuse and they have also written to the National Commission for Women to take action against the accused faculty members. 

The events from the institution have been making national headlines and has taken central stage of politics in Tamil Nadu. The students have held protests nearly for three days and they observed a night-long agitation on Thursday. Responding to the outrage in the assembly, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday- March 31 assured that the appropriate legal action will be taken if the allegations are proven to be true. 

By citing that the students are yet to give a written complaint, the Chief Minister said, "As soon as the matter regarding the protest was brought to my notice, I got in touch with the District Collector to know more about the issue." He further said that the higher officials including the Joint Police Commissioner and Deputy Police Commissioner of Chennai were sent to the institution and they held an investigation on March 30.

"Today - Friday, a team of officials is conducting an inquiry with the students and administration of Kalakshetra. A team under a female inspector has also been deployed to ensure the society of the female students on the campus", the Chief Minister added. His assurance has come when the Chair of the State Commission for Women, AS Kumari, visited the institution and inquired about the event. 

The protests began on Thursday morning when the students boycotted the prayer meeting after one of the accused Hari Padman came to the campus. Besides writing to the National Commission for Women, the students have also written to Union Minister of Culture, G Kishan Reddy, and Chief Minister MK Stalin. Hours after the assurance from the Chief Minister, it has been reported that the students have called off the protests.