A teacher of a Chennai school, who was accused of sexual harassment by students, was arrested on Tuesday, The Times of India reported. He has been remanded to judicial custody till June 8.
The police action came after the allegations of sexual harassment were widely shared on social media. An alumna of the school had posted the experiences of the students on her Instagram handle.
The students said that the teacher had touched them inappropriately, commented on their bodies, asked one of them to go out for a movie with him and also appeared half-naked during an online class. The teacher was also accused of making derogatory remarks towards the students and sharing pornographic content with them.
The teacher was booked under sections 354(A) (sexual harassment) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code, sections 67 and 67-A (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act and section 12 (sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The city police’s special wing for crime against women and children took the the teacher into custody for questioning on Monday afternoon. The police said that the accused confessed to behaving inappropriately with the students, reported The Hindu. The police also seized his laptop and mobile phone for electronic evidence.
State School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said his department would take action against the teacher if he was found guilty. Deputy Commissioner of Police H Jayalakshmi led a team to the school and conducted inquiries with the management and other officials. Chennai district Chief Educational Officer A Anitha also visited the school on Monday.
The students had claimed that they complained about the teacher to the school authorities, but no action was taken against him. A student said that the complaints also came in “batch after batch”.
The school management, however, on Monday released a statement for the parents and students, denying that it was aware of the complaints. The management said it will look into the matter and was taking suo motu cognisance on the basis of the social media posts.
Following the allegations, over 1,000 alumni of the school wrote to the management and demanded that the teacher was suspended pending investigation of the allegations. He was suspended on Monday.
In their petition, the alumni had also demanded that the teacher should not be involved in any academic activity and also not allowed to grade papers or perform evaluations of the student’s works.
The matter was picked up by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi and Dayanidhi Maran. Kanimozhi also demanded action against the teacher as well as the school authorities who allegedly failed to act on the complaint of the students.