Chennai: In a shocking turn, the principal of a central school in Bengaluru who has pending sexual harassment cases against him was transferred to Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu.
In January 2017, Kumar Thakur, principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya School in Sadashivanagar, Bengaluru, was accused of sexual abuse by students, especially from the high school for over three years. He would send inappropriate and suggestive messages to women staff too, said complainant Vasudeva Sharma in his petition. “The principal, claiming to be counselling girl students would ask them into his room and meet them alone for more than half to one hour,” Vasudeva said in his report.
The accusation led to an outrage among parents, students and the public. Soon, Thakur was forced to go on leave and was finally arrested in February 2017. He was booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and Section 354(A) (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. However, he was let out on bail a day later.
Now, despite the case pending in the Karnataka High Court, Thakur has been transferred to Kendriya Vidyalaya in Tiruvannamalai. This, however, is not his first transfer since the case was filed. Thakur was moved to KV Karwar branch in Karnataka, prior to this shift. The commissioner of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) was summoned by the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights for questioning on this matter.
D.K. Dwivedi, assistant commissioner (vigilance), KVS, responded to the allegations, saying, “As per the rules, an accused principal is not allowed to stay near the spot where the incident took place or come in contact with any witness, including students and teachers. Accordingly, we had transferred him to a school in Karwar.” This time, however, the parents and child rights activists in Tamil Nadu are not taking the matter lightly. The Tamil Nadu Child Welfare Commission has demanded his removal. “It is shocking how he is still being allowed to work among school children. Educational quality is not only in infrastructure and facilities, it is also in the safety of children,” says Andrew Jeyaraj, a child rights activist in Chennai, who stressed that children would be extremely uncomfortable with such a man in their midst as they are fully aware of the case.