Chennai teacher, accused of sexual misconduct by dozens, arrested
G Rajagopalan, 59, a commerce teacher at a top school in Chennai, has been arrested after being accused of sexually harassing over a dozen girl students. The teacher had been working at the Padma Seshadri Bala Vidhya Bhavan School (PSBB) in the city's KK Nagar for the past 27 years. Several students leveled sexual misconduct accusations against him over the weekend, triggering police action.
Tens of students alleged harassment by the teacher
Starting Sunday evening, tens of former and current students of the said school have alleged sexual harassment at the hands of the teacher. They said the encounters took place in all possible means - in-person, during online video classes, and even through text messages. Kripali, a former student, collated most of these complaints and shared them on social media without revealing the students' identities.
Students say school was aware, but ignored complaints
Bizarre and disgusting allegations against the teacher have shocked users on social media. One picture suggests the teacher showed up at an online video class bare-chested, with only a towel wrapped around his waist. He would also allegedly crack inappropriate jokes and ask girl students to share their pictures/videos. Some even alleged the school authorities knew about the purported misconduct but ignored the complaints.
Here are some screenshots of the purported chats
பாலியல்சீண்டல்_பாஜக..#சர்ச்சைக்குள்ளான #PSBB_பள்ளி #YG_மகேந்திரன் மகள் #மதுவந்தியுடையதா (#பாஜக #மாநிலச்செயற்குழுஉறுப்பினர்) ???— செங்கொடி பாலகிருஷ்ணன் @SenkodiOfficial (@senkodivck) May 24, 2021
பள்ளி மாணவிகளை தொடர்ச்சியாக பாலியல் சீண்டல் செய்த #ராஜகோபாலை (#பார்ப்பணர்) பலமுறை காப்பாற்றியதும் இவர்தானாம் !
ஆசிரியரின் Conversations Screenshot pic.twitter.com/Bp95YQIq1d
Politicians, alumni extended support to students
The calls for action against the teacher only intensified as celebrities and politicians came forward to support the students. Yesterday, DMK MP Kanimozhi tweeted about the incident, demanding action. "The sexual harassment allegations against a commerce teacher in PSBB School, Chennai, have been shocking. Inquiry should be conducted and action must be taken against those who are involved," she wrote.
School suspended teacher, set up inquiry and informed police
Later on the same day, the school authorities suspended the teacher, constituted an internal inquiry, and informed the police. However, the school has denied having any prior knowledge of the teacher's alleged misbehavior. "The school has always had a zero tolerance against any behavior that adversely affects the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of our students," the school reportedly said in a statement.
Teacher has been booked under these sections
The police arrested the teacher on Monday night, also seizing his laptop and mobile phone. He has been booked under the Sections 11 and 12 (Sexual harassment of children) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012, Sections 354(A) (Sexual harassment) and 509 (Insulting modesty of woman) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as some sections of the IT Act.
Rajagopalan faces judicial custody till June 8
This morning, Rajagopalan was produced before a Special Judge dealing with POCSO cases and subsequently remanded to judicial custody until June 8. The city police, meanwhile, is trying to ensure that the names of the complainants are not made public.