Published: 04th October 2021
Chargesheet filed against PSBB teacher Rajagopalan for sexual misconduct. Here's how the issue unfolded
It all began on May 23, when Kripali, an alumnus who has a substantial number of Instagram followers shared screenshots of student accounts, detailing harassment that they had faced by Rajagopalan
Four months after the infamous PSBB incident rocked schools in Chennai, the Chennai Police has filed a charge sheet against G Rajagopalan, a Commerce teacher who was accused of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct towards his students. The incident was brought to light in May, when Kripali, an alumna of the school had posted anonymous accounts of students, accusing Rajagopalan of sexual misconduct, through her Instagram page.
Rajagopalan has now been charged under sections 11 and 12 (Sexual harassment of children) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012. He was also charged under sections 354(A) (Sexual harassment) and 509 (Insulting modesty of a woman) of IPC and sections 67 (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act. Around seven students have given their statements to the police against Rajagopalan and these include complaints of him sending inappropriate messages, taking online classes half-naked and making obscene comments at the students.
Here, we take a look at the timeline of the events in connection with the case. It all began on May 23, when Kripali, who has a substantial number of Instagram followers shared screenshots of student accounts, detailing harassment that they had faced by Rajagopalan. It also included screenshots showing the teacher taking classes, while only wearing a towel around his waist. These accounts were widely shared on Instagram and their screenshots, on Twitter. The issue snowballed, with people seeking immediate intervention and a suspension and arrest of Rajagopalan.
Following the issue, Rajagopalan was suspended the next day (May 24). In the suspension memo, the PSBB management said, "Some very serious allegations of misconduct have been alleged against you and the same has come to the knowledge of the management from and through social media (sic)." The school added that the teacher will be suspended pending further inquiry. On May 25, Chennai's Ashok Nagar All Women Police arrested him.
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The issue was impactful and snowballed so much so that, the then newly appointed TN Minister for School Education Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said that the government will ensure that the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committees are in place, in all schools. "As you are aware, based on several recommendations made by the courts, every school is required to have a committee to monitor sexual harassment. The head of it will mandatorily be a female teacher. We will ensure that this is enforced seriously in all schools hereafter," he said. Soon after this, the state's Chief Minister M K Stalin said that POCSO will be invoked in online classes soon and that online classes have to be recorded.
The issue also served as a trigger. In the following days, teachers from a few other schools in Chennai too were called out for sexual misconduct. In one such case, self-style godman Shiv Sanka rBaba was arrested for sexually assaulting a student. The Tamil Nadu Commission for Protection of Child's Rights too had conducted a series of interrogations with the authorities. Recently, the commission's member Dr Saranya Jaikumar told EdexLive that the hearings in all cases are over now and that the commission has sent all its recommendations to the government.