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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sexual abuse in Christian institutions continues: 2 professors arrested in 24 hrs in TN

A Christian college professor accused of sexual harassment has been arrested after students protest. Despite the protest and a girl student coming out with deatils of sexual harassment, police has only booked him only under Women Harassment act and IT Act.

Tamil Selvan who was working as an English professor in St.Thomas College of Art and Science in Chennai has been accused of sexually harassing female students both physically and through SMS. He is said to have communicated with girl students in the pretext of conducting online classes and sent them lewd messages through WhatsApp. Students had complained to the college administration which fell on deaf ears. Fed up with the inaction of the administration, students staged a protest demanding action against the professor.

Yet the administration instead of punishing the professor, called the police to curb the protests. But as the protests only intensified in the following days the administration said that the professor has been terminated. Students were having none of it as no legal action was forthcoming and continued protests. Having no other choice the college administration is said to have lodged a complaint with the police following which the professor was booked under Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act and the IT Act.

TNM reported a student saying that the college doesn’t even have an Internal Committee for inquiry of sexual offences as mandated by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (PoSH Act). It also reported another professor working in the college as saying, “He has been working at St Thomas College for about two years now. We have heard that he had indulged in such behaviour while working in previous colleges in the city”. Funnily enough TNM reported it as a success story of students protest.

In another incident, a Christian professor of Botany in a private college(non-Christian) in Virudhunagar was arrested for sexually abusing a female student. The victim was being abused for months and had told her parents about it. The professor, Densingh Balaiah, doubled up as the NCC chief as well and sexually harassed the girl on many occasions.

Incidents of Christians working in Christian institutions and elsewhere sexually abusing and harassing girls is a continuous affair. Only last week the Correspondent of a Christian school was arrested for not acting on a sexual abuse complaint. The Karate master of the school had been abusing the child for 4 years since she was in 8th grade. The school is being run with money collected from abroad through an FCRA NGO.

Despite such repeated occurrences, society turns a blind eye towards the nature of Christian institutions. Only last month Chinmaya Mission’s name was smeared after a teacher in one of its school in Coimbatore was arrested after a student who was sexually abused by him took her life. Similarly Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan in Chennai also faced a smear campaign after one of its teacher faced sexual harassment charges purely because it is a Brahmin run institution.

Lives of children are priceless regardless of which religion they belong to or which school they study in. But while institutions that are even slightly associated with Hindu organisations or Brahmins are dragged through mud to bring them down, despite the repeated incidents of sexual abuse Christian institutions do not even face scrutiny.

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