Three former students from the school shared their experiences through written and other modes to TNM, in which they recollected their trauma during their time in the school.

Siva Shankar Baba at an eventSiva Shankar Baba
news Child Sexual Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021 - 15:14

The Chengalpattu police on Saturday registered multiple FIRs in the case of sexual harassment and abuse of students at the Sushil Hari International School, Kelambakkam. The case has now been transferred to Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID). The FIRs came after several allegations were put forth against the founder of the school, Siva Sankar Baba. According to the Superintendent of Police, Chengalpattu, V Vijaykumar, three separate FIRs have been filed in the issue under the All Women's Police Station, Mamallapuram and a police officer of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank has been specifically designated as the Investigating Officer in the case. The investigation is in progress, he added. According to reports, Siva Sankar Baba is currently admitted to a hospital in Dehradun in Uttarakhand and this prompted police officials to transfer to the CB-CID.

The FIRs have been filed under several sections of the Prevention of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and include sexual assault. This action is the latest among the several FIRs registered against perpetrators of sexual crimes on school children across Chennai. The city police had earlier booked teachers from several private schools in Chennai after many students — both former and current — came out with their experiences of trauma faced at the hands of these teachers. One of the complainants is reportedly a minor.

An alumnus of Sushil Hari school who spoke to TNM, shared her traumatic account of having undergone sexual abuse when she was a student in the school years ago. “On my birthday I went to seek blessings. That’s the day I myself faced this trauma! He (Siva Sankar Baba) first asked me to watch disgusting porn and forced me to drink alcohol. He spoke to me for two hours about different sexual techniques and how it’s important to have regular healthy sex with him so that I don’t get sexual thoughts with other boys,” she wrote in a testimony, which is in possession of TNM. she further stated that she was told to consider herself a ‘gopika’ in her previous birth and to consider Siva Sankar Baba as ‘Lord Krishna’. Another alumnus, in a written testimony, also accused Siva Sankar Baba of luring girl students to his “lounge” on the pretext of giving gifts to them and then luring them into watch porn. A third student wrote that the man had sexually assaulted her in his room, after forcing her to drink alcohol.

Apart from Siva Sankar Baba, the accusations also included the role of multiple staff members in the school, who allegedly ‘brought’ students to him.

The allegations from students of Sushil Hari International School came at a time when dozens of students from across Chennai accused a few teachers from prominent private schools of sexually harassing them. Following an outpour of allegations, the Chennai city police designated Jayalakshmi, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crimes against Women and Children wing, to lead the investigation into the allegations and take suitable action. Alumni from these schools have also sent multiple representations to strengthen the system of reporting within the institutions to make the schools safer for children after these allegations came out.

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