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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Christian school in TN served notice after sexual abuse complaints against sports coach surface

Tamil Nadu Government and SCPCR have issued notice to a Christian school in Chennai in note of sexual harassment complaints against their sports coach. St.George Anglo Indian school in Chennai has been served notice by the Ministry of School Education after the students complained about sexual harassment at the hands of athletic coach Nagarajan.

Nagarajan also trains students of St.Joseph Sports Academy which is also known as Prime Sports Academy, a part of St.Joseph Group of Institutions. Nagarajan was arrested after a 19 year old girl filed a complaint against him for sexually harassing her and her fellow trainers when they were underage. The issue came to light after The Hindu’s sports correspondent T.N.Raghu tweeted the confessions of some of the victims. The coach was arrested after one of the victims filed a complaint formally.

Nagarajan has been in the field of coaching young and budding athletes for more than 30 years and is suspected of preying on girls all these years. He supposedly gives free coaching to those from poor backgrounds and has helped many athletes achieve and get government jobs. With the good name acquired through this, he is said to have targeted poor girls and spoiled the future of many girls who didn’t comply with his wishes.

Apart from coaching at this sports academy, Nagarajan has also been training the students of St.George Anglo Indian school. So the school authorities have been served a notice to appear for the inquiry. While the sexual harassment complaints on the staff of Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan(PSBB) made headlines and the school’s name dragged through the mud, St.George Anglo Indian school’s name hasn’t appeared in the media at all. Tamil media reported it as ‘a private school’ instead of mentioning its name.

Christian school
Joseph Sports Academy’s name blackened by media

In the PBSS case Dravidianists targeted the school for its Brahmin background and demanded that the school be taken over by the government connecting the accused teacher’s actions with the caste. But when it comes to St.George’s school there is a dead silence. Neither is the teacher’s behaviour associated with the religion of the school and academy nor is it appearing on the headlines. The astonishing fact is that it is not the first time St.George’s is appearing in the news.

The last time the school’s name appeared in the news it was for an even worse reason. In 2009, detectives of the Gloucestershire Constabulary from the UK came to Chennai to collect evidence to indict a pedophile and sexual predator from their country. Patrick Matthews, a UK national visited the school from 2003 to 2006 in the pretext of being a volunteer cricket coach and sexually abused boys of 10-14 ages(how ironic is it that the children in the 10-14 window targeted by evangelists for conversion were the targets of the pedophile!).

Patrick Matthews not only visited the school but also took the boys to his beach house where he abused and raped them. A UK charity, Batemans Trust, introduced Matthews to the school and until the charity itself filed a complaint in the UK, no one knew about what the Tamil children were going through. A woman in the village near Kovalam where Matthews’ beach house was located recalled to TOI, “They (children) would flock to his place when he comes. He would give them T-shirts, candies and pencils.” Whether he preyed upon the village children as well is a mystery.

Even though Matthews was introduced to St.George’s in 2003 only, he visited and stayed at his beach house for more than 15 years as per the villagers’ accounts. During that time he was friendly with the headmaster of the local government school and later fell out with him. Unfortunately, despite being arrested by the UK authorities in 2006, the pedophile walked away later as Bharatiya authorities didn’t provide the evidence within the prescribed time frame to prove his crime in the UK court.

Coming back to the current issue, there are a few parallels in how PSBB and St.George’s are treated by the media, politicians and supporters of certain parties and ideologies. When the PSBB offender’s case was ‘brought to light’, the victims were withholding information and put it on social media after DMK came to power. An image that only DMK cares for women safety and can bring justice was intentionally painted. 

The offender, though may be of a different caste, was touted to be a Brahmin and the anti-Brahmin propaganda was unleashed with some even calling for Direct Action Day against Brahmins living in TN. The caste, Brahmin, was given as the reason for the perpetrators’ crime and a call for the government to take over the school came from Periyarists aka Dravidianists and DMK supporters. Other famous schools run by Hindus like Chettinad Vidhyashram, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Babaji Vidhyashram, etc were dragged in. Allegations and suspicions of foreigners visiting Babaji Vidhyashram and sexually abusing children were spread.

Dravidianists and DMK supporters vociferously demanded that the school be taken over as it employed a pedophile and was complicit in his crime. It is to be noted here that the school in its statement said that they didn’t receive any complaints. Now for St.George’s, when complaints poured in about coach Nagarajan and he was arrested, media reported it as ‘a private school’ as opposed to how PSBB’s name was flashed all over the media.

The religious background of the sports academy and the school were completely hushed up, what with the media not even pronouncing their names. Even though some print media reported the school’s name as it is, not even a peep from Dravidianists and DMK supporters about the religious nature of the school or how it contributed to such predatory behaviour. No other Christian institute was dragged in because of this issue or doubts about their functioning raised despite the fact that Christians run most number of schools after the government and sexual abuse is prevalent in them.

How a foreigner not only visited St.George’s but sexually abused children and was let go scot free because of the ineptitude of the government of the day wasn’t discussed either. Neither is the possibility of foreigners visiting the school even now in the pretext of volunteering being considered. Finally, the past history of the school, how it hushed up the past incidents, how it employed a pedophile again, didn’t come to fore at all. Most important of all, starting from CM MK.Stalin to Kanimozhi and Dayanidhi Maran, everyone tweeted about the PSBB incident and how the culprits will be brought to justice. No such sense of righteous anger for the victims of the coach who has been harassing girls allegedly for 30 years.

Thus the fake social justice cause and the Dravidian Movement- Church nexus stands exposed. DMK supporters claim that the victims restrained themselves because they didn’t have any hope for the previous government and that their belief in DMK brought the issue out. Now they should answer why the DMK government with Karunanidhi as CM from 2006-11 let Patrick Matthews scot free. They should also explain whether social justice was put on a hiatus back then.

However those who are really concerned about the welfare of children must look into how Christian institutions are a den of pedophilic activity and how Hindu institutions are targeted by evangelists and their friends in politics. Christians have taken over the matriculation and state board schools already and this appears to be a tactic to arm twist Hindus who chose to establish CBSE schools because of the unfair treatment meted out in the state in establishing educational institutions.

(Featured Image Source: Medium)

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