The 17-year-old student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya died by suicide on November 11. Following her death, the police have arrested the accused teacher, 31-year-old Mithun Chakravarthy.

Illustration of a woman in the foreground and a man in the backgroundRepresentational image
news Child Sexual Abuse Saturday, November 13, 2021 - 17:07

The Coimbatore police have arrested a 31-year-old teacher at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, a prominent school in the city, for allegedly sexually assaulting a class 12 student he taught. The shocking incident came to light after the 17-year-old girl died by suicide on Thursday, November 11. Her family members and friend alleged that she was sexually assaulted and then harassed by the accused teacher, Mithun Chakravarthy, over a period of six months in school. Mithun was arrested on November 13, Saturday. And the police have now included WhatsApp chats and an audio clip of a phone conversation he had with the deceased girl prior to her death

Screenshots of alleged WhatsApp chats and a six-minute call recording between Mithun and the minor student have been leaked, and TNM too has accessed it. In the audio clip, the voice that purportedly belongs to the accused teacher is heard talking about the sexual assault, and also goes on to emotionally blackmail the girl. The man in the call refers to the alleged assault by stating that this was the only “slip up” he had had. “I have had eight years of experience as a teacher. In all these years it has never happened. Ask your seniors [if I have misbehaved]. The only time I slipped up is in your case. It was completely accidental. It won’t happen again,” the voice of the man is heard stating in the voice clip. TNM cannot confirm the authenticity of the clip, however police officials have said that these chats are part of the investigation

The male voice is then heard accusing the student of hurting him “with her choice of words”. When the girl asks why he is unable to see things from her perspective, the man responds by stating that “virginity is not only for girls but also for boys,”. He then says that he regrets what has happened and adds that he is unable to sleep peacefully. “I have faced many hardships after that,” he says

When the student, still distraught, says that she will inform the school management, he retorts asking why she “intends to ruin everything".

In the screenshots of the purported WhatsApp chats, the student says that she felt helpless and that despite trying to avoid him in the school by avoiding eye contact, coming late from tuitions etc., she could not stop the sexual assault. In the chat, she also says that she felt powerless as she did not know how to “stop the teacher without coming across as rude."

“Everyone will not know how to stop a teacher. You cannot take that for granted,” she says. The teacher, in sparse replies, says that he cannot text as he “is in the COVID ward”.

Alleged emotional blackmail 

In the phone conversation, the male voice which allegedly belongs to Mithun can be heard telling the student that “he had not disturbed her following the incident”. “Everything was over that night [sic]. After that, did I disturb you in any way? I had given you my word that I would not keep your number. When you called I didn't even have your number. I had deleted your number,” he says, as though this would justify his actions. The student then cuts the call stating that she did not “feel right about this

The girl's parents had alleged that the 17-year-old was going through a lot of emotional trauma. The WhatsApp chats, the girl stated that she is unable to sleep. “If you want me to leave this issue, please leave the school. It is the greatest help you can do for me,” the student says.

The RS Puram All Women’s Police Station (AWPS) probing the case has included the audio recording and WhatsApp chats in the FIR. A case has been registered against Mithun Chakravarthy under sections under IPC 306 (abetment of suicide) and Section 9 (L) (whoever commits sexual assault on the child more than once or repeatedly) read with 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Parents and friend’s statements 

According to the statements from the girl’s mother, the sexual abuse had allegedly gone on for six months. The girl had repeatedly asked her parents to change her school but did not reveal the reason. In September this year, they had shifted her to a different school in the city. Mithun had also quit the school in September due to medical reasons, according to the management. 

According to the deceased student’s friend, Mithun Chakravarthy had befriended the student over phone chats and had dropped her home once. The friend alleged that his behaviour had been inappropriate from the very beginning. “He sexually assaulted her once in school and harassed her many times.” His wife teaches in the same school, she and the principal knew about all this, but they did nothing,” the friend alleged. He added that the school had asked the student why she had allowed Mithun Chakravarthy to drop her home and also said that they had told her “she was to blame too because of this.”

The student’s mother also reportedly says that her daughter had complained to the principal, who asked her not to inform her parents. The school had also arranged for counselling, during which the minor girl was reportedly told to take the assault lightly, and to brush it off. A case under the POCSO act has been registered against the principal of the school.

The student  had also purportedly written a suicide note where she refers to the accused teacher and two others. However, the school management and principal denied knowledge of the incidents to TNM, stating that the girl’s parents had cited financial pressure as the reason for changing schools.

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