A theatre artist in Hyderabad was arrested on Tuesday for harassing his students during a workshop. He was arrested by the Narayanaguda police in the city but was let out on bail later in the day.
According to the 21-year-old woman in his workshop who filed the complaint, Vinay Varma, the accused had told the students attending the workshop that they should remove their clothes as part of an exercise or get out of the class, reports The News Minute.
The incident came to light on April 15, Monday, when the complainant got in touch with the SHE team in Hyderabad and narrated her ordeal to them. She said that there were seven men and two women. Varma, who runs the Sutradhar acting school, had ordered them to strip naked as part of an exercise and when they showed some hesitation, he asked them to get out of class.
"After we finished doing meditation, he walked in, closed the windows and doors, and asked us to remove our clothes. We were looking at each other, then he shouted, 'remove your clothes or leave the class'. Then immediately, the boys obeyed him and removed their clothes. He asked them to remove their undergarments as well," the complainant was quoted as saying by TNM.
Varma defended his actions saying that this exercise is a part of every workshop. If the students are not comfortable, they are told to stand outside the room. "This is part of the acting exercise where we mould them (students) and test if they're able to do it. The students who can't do it are told to stand outside the class," Varma had told TNM.
However, when he was asked if the students are aware of this particular exercise before signing up for the class or even attending it, he said, "We don't tell what all training they'll be going through. We never forced them. We are willing to reimburse the fee of those who can't do it (remove clothes)."
The SHE team informed the Narayanaguda police of incident who acted on it after the family of the complainant staged a protest outside the police station. The police charged Varma under sections 354 A (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).