Merit found in complaints filed by students against director of KR Narayanan film institute, Kerala

The students have been agitating, demanding the ouster of the director for alleged caste discrimination and undermining reservation norms in the admissions process
Picture of KR Narayanan National Institute | Pic: Sourced
Picture of KR Narayanan National Institute | Pic: Sourced

A report by a two-member committee, to look into the issues raised by the students of the KR Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA), in Kerala, has reportedly found merit in some of their complaints against the institute's director Shankar Mohan. However, sources privy to the commission's meetings in the institute said the director was not given a proper hearing by the panel and that its report appeared to be part of a 'pre-meditated plan' to facilitate his removal from the institution, stated a TNIE report.

The two-member panel comprising of former Chief Secretary K Jayakumar and former Vice-Chancellor of NUALS NK Jayakumar submitted the report to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday, January 13. The Chief Minister is likely to discuss the report with Higher Education Minister R Bindu and senior officials soon. The students of the institute are currently on an agitation demanding the ouster of Mohan for alleged caste discrimination and undermining reservation norms in students' admissions. According to sources, the commission report has turned down Mohan's argument that the institute did not have direct control over the admission process which landed in a controversy for allegedly not adhering to reservation norms, as reported by TNIE.

The report has also found merit in the student's complaints about the lack of proper infrastructure facilities and practical training in the institute. However, it is not clear if the allegations of 'caste discrimination' were validated by the two-member panel. Meanwhile, Shankar Mohan told TNIE that he had already expressed his willingness to quit in the face of the controversies "created as part of a larger conspiracy" and expressed hope that allegations of caste discrimination against him would soon be cleared by the SC/ST Commission and the State Human Rights Commission that is also looking into the complaints. 

"If I am cleared by the two commissions, then at least this bogus caste issue will be dead. Let's wait for the two commissions to come to a conclusion if you really want to the truth to emerge," Mohan said. He also clarified that a three-member panel, tasked earlier by Higher Education Minister R Bindu to look into the students' complaints, had not spoken to him at all. Listing out the numerous reforms he has initiated in the institute, Mohan said he “took pride" in them while looking back. "However, if they ask me to go, then I will leave with the sadness that my work has not been appreciated," Mohan added. 

While speaking to TNIE as part of the Express Dialogues series, noted filmmaker and the institute's chairman Adoor Gopalakrishnan firmly backed Mohan. Adoor said if Mohan left the institute, efficient faculty would also quit along with him. Recently, the ruling CPM intervened in the issue and sought a favourable resolution to the issues raised by the students, indicating that the odds were stacked heavily against Mohan

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