Cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin wrote on Twitter that he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the student accounts of sexual harassment by teachers coming out from different schools in Chennai. The cricketer, who is a former student of PSBB school, stressed on the recent incident where a Commerce teacher from the institution has been accused of sexual harassment by several students from various batches. Rajagopalan, who taught at PSBB KK Nagar in Chennai, was booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and arrested by the Ashok Nagar police on Monday night (May 24) after he was questioned by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes against women and children) Jayalakshmi.
In a short note that he tweeted, Ashwin said that ‘a complete overhaul of the existing system’ is the need of the hour. “I know justice and law will take its course, but this is the time for people to come clean and revisit the existing system. These are times of deep distress and we need to understand that we have left our children with no choice but to vent out on social media,” he wrote. In his note, Ashwin also added that there is a need "to create an ecosystem" that encourages children to report the smallest of incidents that make them feel unsafe. They should not be afraid of being targeted for grades and beyond, he said.
Though Ashwin is a former student of PSBB KK Nagar branch to which the accused teacher belongs, he said that he was not taught by the latter. Soon after the complaints started pouring in on social media, the school management issued a letter to all parents denying that any student had approached them earlier to complain about Rajagopalan. The allegations posted on the Instagram handle run by model Kripali had specified that the school had been informed about the issue previously but had failed to act. Allegations about the inappropriate behaviour of teachers in other prominent Chennai schools have also been doing the rounds on social media.
“So heartbreaking to hear about the stories coming out from schools in and around Chennai, especially from PSBB concerning Rajagopal. Had never known him in all those years of studying there but was deeply disturbed about the news.” Ashwin wrote.
He also added that education was important ‘but not everything’. “Let’s enable our children to retain their innocence and give their childhood the sanctum that it deserves,” the note read.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been actively connecting COVID-19 patients with resources such as beds, oxygen cylinders, ICUs etc. He has also helped amplify hundreds of patient requests for beds and oxygen.