The police arrested a teacher for allegedly sexually assaulting a class 12 student he taught, who died by suicide earlier this week. The principal allegedly did not act on her complaint.

A stylised image of a girl with her head down and face covered by hair, man putting hand on her shoulder frombehind
news Child Sexual Abuse Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:58

The principal of the Chinmaya Vidyalaya in Coimbatore, Meera Jackson, has been arrested following the death of a 17-year-old student who had been sexually assaulted by a teacher and later died by suicide. A suicide note purportedly written by the deceased girl blamed two other persons for not acting on her complaint. The Coimbatore police arrested the 31-year-old teacher at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Mithun Chakravarthy, for allegedly sexually assaulting a student he taught. On Thursday, November 11, the girl died by suicide, following which the ghastly incident came to light. 

School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh who addressed the media on Sunday after meeting the parents of the deceased student, said, “The parents and family had conducted protests, refusing to accept the child’s body unless the principal of the school was also arrested. With regard to this demand three teams of police were sent to trace her and she was secured last night. She is in custody right now and the inquiry is going on.”

The principal's name has been added to the ongoing investigation and she has been booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for not taking action on the student's complaint, police said.

A friend of the deceased girl said that the teacher, Mithun, befriended the student over texts and once dropped her home, and that his behaviour had always been inappropriate. The friend had alleged that the principal as well as the teacher’s wife (also a teacher in the school) knew about the inappropriate behaviour and did nothing. According to reports, the victim’s mother said when the girl took the matter to the principal, she was told not to inform her parents. During counseling that had been arranged by the school, the minor girl was reportedly told to take the assault lightly and to brush it off. 

The girl's body was sent to a government hospital for postmortem and the parents and relatives refused to accept the body as they demanded the arrest of the school head, the police said. Over 100 people comprising representatives of students' and women's organisations, SDPI and Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhakam and Naam Tamilar Katchi gathered in front of the girl's house on Saturday, November 13, demanding action against the school management and also the two named in the suicide note, police said.

Mithun Chakravarty, has been remanded in 15 days custody, police said on Saturday. The teacher has been sent to a sub-jail in Udumalpet, they said. 

Anbil Mahesh at the press meet also said, “The one thing I have to say to every young girl is that, this loss isn't one individual’s. I am as distressed as I would be if this had happened to my own daughter. We have instructed the district administration and the police to conduct due investigation”

He added that students require awareness of the POCSO Act and that government school teachers are already being given training in this regard. 

Chief Minister MK Stalin expressed grief over the student's death and promised stringent action against the culprits. He said the act of "some human beasts" has taken away a life. "Schools should ensure sexual assaults do not happen. (we) will arrest the culprits and bring them before the law... will ensure the safety of women," he said in a tweet.

Read: Chats of Coimbatore teacher who allegedly sexually abused student hint at cover up

With PTI inputs