The Kalakshetra, an iconic institution in Chennai, has announced closure of its college till April 6, in the wake of protests by students against alleged sexual harassment and misconduct on the campus.
Students of the Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, being run by the Kalakshetra on its campus, resorted to the protest at the "tapovan", the prayer space at the entrance of the college on Thursday demanding justice. They alleged harassment by a senior faculty and sought appropriate action against him.
As the allegations surfaced a few days ago, chairperson of National Commission of Women Rekha Sharma, visited Kalakshetra on Wednesday to enquire about the allegations.
The principal announced that the college will be closed till April 6 from Thursday evening.
"Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts will remain closed from 5.15 pm today to April 6. All inmates are requested to vacate the hostel within two days with immediate effect," he said in a circular.
Exams scheduled on the above days have been postponed and new dates would be announced in due course, the Principal added.
Meanwhile, Kalakshetra in a statement said the chairman and the governing board is fully appraised of protests and grievances and all steps would be taken to ensure that no person who is involved in any unsavory activity in the Foundation will be spared.
"There have been some allegations which we are considering. Some of the students of the Foundation have been protesting in our campus. The Director and the Deputy director from administration have spoken to the students taking into consideration the sentiments and grievances of the students.
"On 29.03.2023, the chairperson of the national commission for women had also visited our campus and made enquiries about the allegations. The Foundation had already sought explanation from the persons against whom some allegations have been made and on receipt of their explanation, the Chairman and the Governing Board will consider the appropriate action that has to be taken in accordance with its Rules and Regulations and in conformity with law."
"The chairman and the Governing Board is fully appraised of protests and grievances and all steps will be taken to ensure that no person who is involved in any unsavory activity in the Foundation will be spared," the statement said.
Carnatic musician and writer TM Krishna called upon the Kalakshetra management to take necessary action to address the "very serious complaints."
"I am writing to you regarding the complaints of sexual harassment and toxicity in the Kalakshetra environment that has been raised over the past few months," he said in an open letter to the college principal requesting for action.