Published: 31st May 2019
Did Rohtak Film Institute tell parents they'd withdraw students' 'harassment' case in exchange for calling off their strike?
The protestors had three demands for their admin — not to add a new Mass Comm course, increase resources and to reduce the numbers of seats
The students of Film and Television department, Pandit Lakhmi Chand State University of Performing and Visual Art, Rohtak have called off their three-week-long protests after the administration got their parents to intervene. The students had launched their protests on May 6 but were forced to call off their strike after the administration promised the parents that they would take immediate action in the matter. However, the students are not satisfied because the promises have only been verbal and not all their demands were met.
The students had launched the protests after they came to know that the institute was introducing a post-graduate course in mass communication. The University currently has four departments on campus — Film and TV, Visual Art, Design and Architecture. The students were surprised that instead of a Masters course in Film and TV department, the administration had launched a mass communication course. But this wasn't their main problem, "We already barely have any resources to work with and now we are supposed to share whatever little we have with a new batch. How are we supposed to manage," asks Aditya*, one of the students who was leading the protest.
The student said they don't even have a professional camera like an Arri and was upset to find they will have to now share with a whole new class as well. The institute also announced that they would be increasing their seats from 12 to 15, which further angered the students.
The protestors had three demands for their administration — to not add a new mass communication course, increase resources and reduce the numbers of seats.
These are the solutions the institute came up with — tells students they will transfer the Mass Communication course to a sister college in two years and promised to use 4 crores more in order to increase resources. Again, these promises were only made verbally to the parents.
But how did the parents come to be involved?
During the protests, the administration alleged that the students had been unruly and violent. The registrar of the college also filed a case against 14 students claiming that they had misbehaved with her. "Those 14 students only happened to be there when the registrar initiated a dialogue with the students and a false case was filed against them," she said.
The Court had summoned the students on May 28 for a hearing on the case. On May 27, the administration asked the parents of the 14 students to come to the institute and spoke to them. The parents came out of the meeting and convinced the students to call off the strike. The case against the 14 students also magically disappeared.
The administration has told the parents that they would 'take care' of the cases and the students just need to go back to their regular classes. "The parents told us that the administration will take action regarding the demands we had made. They also told them that incase the administration failed to follow up on their promises, we would be able to call them out on it," Aditya said. "It seemed like they had blackmailed the parents, so there was nothing much we could do," he added.
Their main demand for the removal of the mass communication course has not been accepted by the administration, "They've told us that in case there is a shortage of resources or equipment then the Film And TV course students will be given preference over the mass communication students. Since they've also told us that they will increase resources, we decided to back down," the student explained. Which again seems unfair since no batch should have to feel like they are short on resources and no department should be given 'preference' over the other. Which is probably why the students are finding it difficult to trust the words of the administration.
Despite calling off the strike, the students say they are not happy and will wait for a few months to see if there is any chance. If there isn't, they say they will go back to protesting.