In a week, 3 sexual harassment cases at 3 Tamil Nadu educational institutions

While two teachers have been arrested from two different schools in Tamil Nadu, an assistant professor has been booked on charges of sexually harassing a college student.
Representative image of a woman
Representative image of a woman
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Two school teachers and one assistant professor have been arrested by the police in Tamil Nadu in one week in three different cases of sexual harassment. While one college professor in Nagercoil has been booked for allegedly sexually harassing, two school teachers, one from Tiruvannamalai and one from Madurai, have been arrested under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

A 36-year-old warden of a government-aided children's home in Tiruvannamalai was arrested on Sunday, March 13, on the allegations that he had sexually abused the children residing at the home. According to a TNIE report, seven boys — aged between 14 and 16 —  had called the Childline and reported that they were being sexually abused by the warden Duraipandi for three months. 

Soon after the call, a team of officials from Childline, the District Child Protection Office (DCPO), and the police department went to the home and conducted an inquiry. The warden Duraipandi and administrator Sagayaraj were arrested. According to the report, Duraipandi had been working at the home for over two years and nearly 80 boys reside at the home for orphans and children in need of care and protection.

After the inquiry, a complaint was lodged by the Childline at the Chetpet police station and an FIR has been registered under Sections 7 (sexual assault) read with 8 (punishment for sexual assault) and 19 (1) (reporting of offences) read with 21 (2) (punishment for failure to report or record a case) of POCSO Act, as well as Section 506 (i) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

The second case has been reported from Melur of Madurai, where a 51-year-old science teacher, named Bharathi, has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two girl students. Based on the complaint filed by the students, an FIR was registered under Sections 9(f) (aggravated sexual assault) (by management or staff of educational or religious institute), 9(l) (aggravated sexual assault) (repeated assault),10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of POCSO Act against Bharathi, and he has been arrested. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is also conducting an investigation into the incident. 

The third case was reported from a government-aided college in South Thamaraikulam of Kanniyakumari. A 22-year-old woman student of the college has alleged sexual harassment by an assistant professor. According to the police, the student alleged that Vasudevan (45), an assistant professor in the college, sexually harassed and threatened her. The student had complained about this to her brother, who then confronted the assistant professor and allegedly physically assaulted him, warning him not to harass his sister.

The woman later filed a police complaint and an FIR was registered against Vasudevan under Sections 294(b) (obscene acts and songs), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 506(i) (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Meanwhile, Vasudevan also filed a counter-complaint against the complainant’s brother over the assault, alleging that he suffered serious injuries. He also denied the sexual harassment charge in the complaint and said that he had made a WhatsApp group with students and he only asked her to put her own picture as her WhatsApp display image. Based on his complaint, an FIR was also registered against the woman’s brother, under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 294(b) (obscenity), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons), 506(ii) of IPC. An investigation is underway in both cases. 

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