KOCHI: The students at the RLV College of Music and Fine Arts at Tripunithura have been on strike for the past two weeks demanding the Mahatma Gandhi university immediately fill up vacant faculty positions. The students will take out a march to the college on Wednesday.
However, the strike which began as a united endeavour with the backing of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) has now turned into a political drama with the SFI parting ways with the striking students.
Hariharan, SFI area secretary Tripunithura, said the striking students don't have the backing of the students' organisation.
“They are striking under the banner of the students of Fine Arts Department. I don't how valid that banner is since a majority of the students are with us. And they don't approve of the manner in which the strike is being held,” said Hariharan.
He also condemned the way the striking students behaved with former principal V K Ramesh and said, “They don't know how to stage a strike. Instead of highlighting issues, they are resorting to showmanship,” he said.
Hariharan said one of the main issues which needed to be addressed was the shifting of the Fine Arts Department, currently under the Collegiate Education section, to Technical Education Department.
“The former principal had written to the government requesting shifting of the department to under the Technical Education Department. If the request is approved, it will prove detrimental to the students. How can a department that deals with painting, sculpture and applied arts be brought under technical education?” he wondered.
Apparently, the former principal decided to take such a decision as students of the department had been at the forefront of nearly every major strike that took place in the college, Hariharan said. Countering Hariharan's statements, Jasinter, an alumnus, said the students had been protesting very peacefully and didn't at any juncture misbehave with the former principal.
“We don't have a strife with the SFI. They backed us earlier. But I think they decided to withdraw fearing they might lose their political standing on the campus. Anyway, we will go ahead with our strike,” he said.
“There has been a move to expedite the process of shifting the department under the Technical Education section. The college authorities had held an urgent meeting with the District Collector in this regard. But we will not let it happen. We also want the creation of faculty position for Art History and classrooms for Fine Arts Department,” Jasinter said.
Meanwhile, the striking Fine Arts students have been dealt another blow. “We have been asked to vacate the classrooms allotted to us,” said Jasinter, adding the District Collector's order is in total contrast to the assurance given at the general body meeting that was held in the presence of the PTA.
Acting principal A R Devi said the students wanted everything to happen quickly. “Their demands have been heard and a concrete decision can be arrived at only after the authorities concerned hold a meeting,” she said.