Chennai based Loyala College, a Jesuit Institution, has been regularly landing itself in various controversies like sexual abuses of women staff, termination without following due process of law, forcing staff to do menial jobs, financial irregularities etc. These events are not covered by the mainstream media, reasons better known to them and thanks to the well-oiled missionary backing and enormous power they wield .
In a present a case, Lawrence D’Cruz, a former student of Loyola College, was abused for being a “Dalit” Christian, made to do menial jobs like cleaning food plates and toilets, and terminated without notice. Lawrence also alleged that he was sexually abused by superiors.
According to an article written by Abhinav a journalist with Kumudam Tamil magazine, “ Lawrence had started working at the Loyola college in October 2013 as a Junior Assistant. He joined first under Father Xavier Alphonse from the year 2013 to 2015. From the year 2015 to 2016, Lawrence worked under Father Joseph Antony Samy. After that, Lawrence started working with Father Thomas Amirtham, who took over the Alumni Association as the Director of the association at the time in 2016. as PA to then Director of the Alumni Association Reverend Father Thomas Amirtham. Right from the day one Lawrence was discriminated and humiliated on the basis of his caste by his boss. Day after day tortures at his hands grew even if he did the assigned jobs to his satisfaction. He started calling his caste in front of others.”
On the 23rd of April 2022, Lawrence was terminated by the college for reasons that he says are fabricated. He was not allowed to wear cross on his chain as he is a Dalit and I thought that he was saying this to me considering its holy nature of the cross and a reverence attached to it. According to Lawrence, he was constantly discriminated against, made to do menial jobs, abused for being a “Dalit” and sexually harassed. It was when he spoke up against the injustice done by the college he was terminated from his employment with concocted charges. Lawrence was pursuing his MBA, but he could not complete the course. When he said when he sought leave to write MBA examination, it is alleged, his boss told him that B.Com was well over for his community. “Why do you want study further? If you precipitate further, I would cancel your B.Com degree certificate” Lawrence said. He said he could not write the examination.
“ When I reported for a duty after two months leave for my hospitalization for fracture in my hand, I was shocked to be told that some was appointed in my place and if you want can join as Library assistant which is vacant. Hoping that my bad days were over and joined without any a second thought, as I needed money for survival. The same boss had now become principal of the college” he said. “ I faced harassments, hardships, discrimination at his hands. I was forced to clean toilets, tiffin and food plates eaten by others. I was called to office even on public holidays and Sundays. I was not allowed to wear footwears/slippers inside the college premises. When shared it with others, I found that Father Selvanayagam who become correspondent of the college in 2018, and principal Thomas have been ill-treating, humiliating , harassing several Dalit staff and students. Without any reasons and following due process of labour laws, over 25 staff from Dalit community were sacked”. According to Lawrence, Father Thomas started abusing him for his caste at this point. “You are a lowborn and you should learn how to behave like one”. From 2018 to 2019, Lawrence D’Cruz was allegedly sexually tortured by Gnanaprakasam, who was also the Library staff at Loyola College. Lawrence says that he complained orally to Father Leonard, who refused to do anything.
Lawrence was forced to eat outside of the Alumni office because they did not think he was “suitable” to eat with them. He told OpIndia “One by one, they took away all the facilities from me because they wanted me to resign from the job. But I kept taking the blows because I come from a financially backward background and have two sisters I need to take care of. I am the only son in the family. After his emails, on the 10th January 2022, two women who worked in the Library complained against Lawrence, accusing him of sexual harassment.
When they sought the help of political parties that claim to be champions Dalits’ rights and saviours of the community, they refused to lend their hands. “After checking my movements, the college authorities asked me to give an undertaking that I would not do any such acts against the college. I was finally fired from service” he said. He took the matter to the attention of the PMO, National Human Rights Commission and other forums and lodged a complaint with Chennai Police Commissioner Office. Abhnav tried to contact college management, police for their reaction without much success.
Faculty member Josephine Jeyashanthi, who spoke up against the sexual harassment was subjected to by her superiors, is fighting a legal battle. Another professor also who suffered a sexual harassment in the same college is pursuing her case legally.