CPM intervenes to end students’ protest at KR Narayanan institute

It is learnt that the party has taken a political decision to settle the issues and end strike
Director Aashiq Abu interacting with protesting students at K R Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts.
Director Aashiq Abu interacting with protesting students at K R Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts.

KOTTAYAM: With the indefinite strike by students at the KR Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts in Kottayam continuing unabated, the CPM has taken a ‘political decision’ to settle the issue. According to a source, CPM district leadership has sent a recommendation to the party state committee to favourably address the issues raised by the students. “A message has been passed to the state committee. A final decision will be taken by the chief minister soon,” the source said.

It was on December 5 that students launched an indefinite strike demanding the ouster of institute director Shankar Mohan. Students have raised a slew of allegations against Mohan that include caste discrimination and undermining reservation norms for students’ admissions.

Following protests, the district Collector ordered to shut the institute till January 8, which has been extended further to January 15. The students switched to a novel way of strike launching the ‘art of protest’, in which students resumed academic activities on their own through online and offline classes while continuing their strike.

They got tremendous support from the film industry with a lot of film personalities offering the students all the assistance to continue their academic activities. While directors Rajeev Ravi and Sanju Surendran arrived at the institute for an interactive session, more senior film personalities including Ashiq Abu, Krishnendu Kalesh, Jeo Baby, Kamal K M and Salu K Thomas visited the protesting students on Tuesday. More personalities are slated to visit the campus in the coming days and back the students online.

Taking into account the overwhelming support from the film industry for students, CPM has decided to intervene in the issue. It is learnt that CPM recommended the removal of Mohan from the post. Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister R Bindu told reporters on Tuesday that a two-member commission appointed by the government to look into the issues at the institute, will submit its report on January 13. “Govt will take a decision, including the possibility of removing the director only after receiving this report,” she said.

The students at the same time will continue their protests. “We can’t sacrifice our academics when the institute authorities turned a blind eye towards our demands. We have sought the help of various film personalities and several persons, including Unnikrishnan B, Gurvinder Singh, Arun Sukumar, Rajeev Ravi, Sanjay Surendran and B Ajith Kumar, have offered all the support,” said Sreedev Suprakash, students’ council chairman at the institute.

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