Published: 30th March 2018
Students in a Kerala college conduct 'funeral' on principal's farewell, SFI denies involvement
P V Pushpaja, Principal of Nehru Arts and Science College expressed that she was not saddened by students' mode of protest as much as she was disappointed with the decline in values among students
In an incident reminiscent of the 2016 protest at Palakkad's Government Victoria College, a section of students at Nehru Arts and Science College burst crackers and offered "condolences" on the farewell day of principal P V Pushpaja. The video of the students bursting crackers went viral on WhatsApp and social media.
The students also distributed sweets and put up a poster that read: "Condolences to the principal who had died in the hearts of students. Relief from disaster. Freedom to campus."
Pushpaja alleged that the SFI, the students' wing of the ruling CPM, was behind the 'protest' because she had tried to inculcate a sense of discipline into the students.
A few days ago, the students had approached the principal, asking for her photographs. "I did not give them any," she said. "If I had known that they had planned something like this on my send-off, I would have surely given the photos."
However, the SFI's district leaders said their organisation was neither behind the protest nor did they endorse it.
"The protest reflected the popular sentiments of the students against the principal, but we had no role in it," said SFI district vice-president M V Ratheesh. Siddharth Ravindran, another SFI leader, said the video of students bursting crackers dated back to an old campus function.
The principal who is set to retire on May 31 said the staff and the management had organised a send-off party on March 27. "The crackers were burst on that day, and in front of the poster offering condolences to me," she said.
Pushpaja, who has 33 years of teaching experience, said she had reported a few students to the university for attendance shortage. Recently, she accused the SFI of using the college's AC conference hall for conducting its unit meeting. She had also suspended a student for misbehaving with a female student. "All that contributed to irking them," she said.
In April 2016, students affiliated to the SFI at Victoria College gave a "ceremonial funeral" to their principal T N Sarasu at the end of her 27-year-long service.