Shocking allegations of multiple cases of rape and sexual assault have emerged from a school for hearing and speech impaired students in Coimbatore. Following two complaints filed by a teacher and a student from the school, the school correspondent and five other staff members have been arrested by the police.
The Tirupur School for the Deaf in Semmantaapalayam, which admits students from Class 6 to Class 12 is run by C Murugaswamy, the correspondent, who is speech and hearing impaired himself. There are close to 200 children currently attending the school.
A week ago, Arun Gandhi, who joined the institute in 2015 as a Director and Spoken English teacher, filed a complaint alleging that Murugaswamy had raped multiple students in the school. His complaint also alleges that the other five staff members had kept quiet about his activities.
On Tuesday, a student, who had allegedly been impregnated by the correspondent and later made to undergo an abortion, filed another complaint. Following this, the arrests were carried out. Charges have been filed under Sections 376 (Rape), 313 (Causing miscarriage without womanâ€™s consent), 109 (Abetment of a crime) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
Arunâ€™s complaint letter, submitted to the police, child welfare committee and district authorities, claims that he first became suspicious when he realised that students who finished their education in the institute were not being allowed to leave the residential campus.
When he confronted some of the pupils about this, they allegedly said, "The authorities here have told students that we should remain here after our studies and that the correspondent will take of all our needs. We have been told that our families will not accept us because we have disabilities. Students have been instructed to given up on hopes of marriage, stay here and help the correspondent."
When Arun's attempts to contact Murugaswamy regarding this matter failed, he questioned another administrator, S Rani. She, however, allegedly failed to answer his questions in a clear manner. At around the same time, an alumnus of the school who still worked there named Shakthivel, sent Arun a WhatsApp message, asking the teacher to meet him at his residence in Erode.
Shakthivel then handed over a note to Arun, which detailed allegations of multiple cases of rape, intimidation and conspiracy. According to the note, which Arun attached with his complaint, Murugaswamy had raped multiple girls in the school over the years.
"Murugaswamy's actions have pained me. Lot of these girls have been quiet out of pity for him. Perhaps they are scared their life will be in danger if they reveal the truth. Murugaswamy, with the help of administrators Chitradevi and Rani, has been committing some terrible sexual crimes. He calls girls to his room and asks them to kiss him. He shows them porn and ask them to have sex with him in the same manner. This pains me. He has told several female students that he will give them money, new clothes and even take them out, to lure them to his room. He then removes his shirt and asks them to kiss him. He then asks the girls to remove their clothes. He then cleans the bathroom and tells them to come there. He then forces them to have sex with him on his bed. People think he is equal to god, innocent and suffering because he has no wife. People are quiet because of this. He is a very bad man. He has even tortured my sister."
Other teachers in the school, who spoke to the media, however, claimed that this was a conspiracy against Murugaswamy, who is also the institution's founder. "He has been like a father to these children. There is a land dispute regarding one of the school's properties in Murugampalayam. Someone connected to this has egged on old students and pupils, who were removed for bad behaviour, to file this complaint against the correspondent," says one teacher.
Following the complaints, members of the Child Welfare Committee, the State Committee for Persons with Disabilities and the DSP have visited the school to conduct inquiries in connection to the case.