The Chennai Police on Friday booked assistant professor Hari Padman in connection with allegations of sexual abuse levelled by students of Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, which functions under the Kalakshetra Foundation, reported The New Indian Express.

The development came after the students at the Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts began their protest on Thursday stating that the administration has not taken any action against its four faculty members who have been accused of sexual abuse. The college will remain shut till April 6 as students continue to demonstrate.

Besides Padman, the three other faculty members accused of sexual harassment are Sanjith Lal, Sai Krishnan and Sreenath, according to The News Minute.

A first information report was filed against Padman after a former student lodged a complaint against him at an All Women Police station. The assistant professor has been booked under Sections 354A (sexual harassment), 509 (use of words, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Women Harassment Act.

On March 19, the academy had said that its Internal Complaints Committee had conducted an investigation but found no truth in the complaints.

On the basis of the statement, the National Commission for Women decided to close the complaint, but three days later tweeted that it has directed the police to file an FIR against the accused men as well as Revathi Ramachandran, the academy director, for shielding the perpetrators.

On Friday, Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women chief AR Kumari said that she has received 90 complaints of sexual abuse and harassment of students at Kalakshetra Foundation following a five-hour inquiry on the campus, reported NDTV.

“Complaints include sexual abuse of both girls and boys,” Kumari told NDTV. “I met 12 one-on-one, including six via Zoom. Earlier, I addressed all, giving them a sense of confidence to open up. I will give a report to the state government.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday told the state Assembly that the government will take appropriate legal action if charges against the accused persons are confirmed in the investigation, reported The Hindu.

A team comprising revenue divisional officer, tahsildar, joint police commissioner, assistant commissioner of police and other officials will investigate and collect information in this case, Stalin said.

The team had visited the campus on Friday and held talks with students and the management, he added.

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