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Bharatnatyam dancer Zakir Hussain, who was denied entry to Srirangam temple, accused of sexual misconduct: Details

In December, Hussain was stopped at Srirangam temple by Rangarajan Narasimhan, who pointed out to HR&CE rules against allowing entry to non-Hindus in Srirangam temple and remonstrated to the temple HR&CE authorities that Hussain be evicted from temple premises.

The incident of a Bharatanatyam dancer Zakir Hussain being denied entry to Srirangam temple drew a lot of commentary and advice to Hindus on secularism from the usual quarters. 

In December, Hussain was stopped at Srirangam temple by Rangarajan Narasimhan, who pointed out to HR&CE rules against allowing entry to non-Hindus in Srirangam temple and remonstrated to the temple HR&CE authorities that Hussain be evicted from temple premises.

Later, the Government of Tamil Nadu appointed him advisor for all 17 district music schools under the government’s Arts and Culture Department.

Now, allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment have raised their head against him. As per a report that appeared in Dinamalar, a Tamil daily, an instructor at the Karur District Government Music School has approached the Director, Arts And Culture Department of Tamil Nadu with the following complaint:

“I belong to a family of traditional arts performers. On the morning of 28th February 2022, Mr Zakir Hussain came to our music school for an inspection. He spoke to me in an insulting fashion in the presence of many of my colleagues. Later, he called me alone to the Head Instructor’s office and closed the door. He placed his hands on my shoulder and waist and offered to teach me some finer aspects of dance. He also said – ‘ I am going to conduct a 3-day workshop for all of you in April. I will instruct you there.’ I left the room as I could not stand the nature of this conversation. I felt suicidal and depressed afterwards. I have shared all that I could through a letter. I hope you will ensure a secure atmosphere for all women dance teachers by acting upon my complaint.’

The report goes on to quote one Mr Ayyanar, who is described as being the President of the Union of Tamil Nadu Arts And Culture Teachers and Employees Union:

“There are reports of such misconduct against Mr Zakir Hussain not just from the lady instructor at Karur District Government Music School but from other districts as well. The workshop in April will have participation exclusively by women teachers. We are not sure if this will be secure for them. This decision must be relooked. We also wish to draw the attention of the Honorable Chief Minister, Mr M K Stalin and ensure that justice is done.

Mr Gandhi IRPFS, Director, Arts And Culture Department of Tamil Nadu, has confirmed receipt of the complaint.

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