KR Narayanan Film Institute director Shankar Mohan resigns

The tussle between the students of the institute and director Shankar Mohan escalated after the institute cancelled the accommodation arranged for the students attending the film festival. Photo: Manorama.

Kottayam: Shankar Mohan, the director of KR Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA), resigned on Saturday following a 49-day strike staged by students of the institute.

He handed over the resignation at the Chief Minister's office around noon. Shankar Mohan told Manorama News that he decided to step down as his term is over. The institute's Chairman, director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, refused to comment. 

The students of the institute have been protesting from December 5 onwards, accusing the director and management of caste bias against sanitation workers of the institute, breaching reservation rules for student admission, denying students the chance to work on their diploma films and more.

Many celebrities including directors Aashiq Abu, Kamal, Sajitha Madathil, Vidhu Vincent and Jeo Baby came in support of the students.

KRNNIVSA is an autonomous institute established by the Kerala government at Thekkumthala, Pallikkathode, in Kottayam.

The government had instituted an inquiry commission to probe the issues, headed by K Jayakumar IAS. They recently submitted a report on the same, and it is speculated that they found the allegations to be true.

The students are now demanding to publish the report.

Manorama News reported that the authorities decided to give the director a chance to resign, before ousting him and that resulted in him deciding to step down. If National Commission for Backward Classes takes up the issue, more actions against the director are likely to follow.

Protest got louder at IFFK
The students launched the protest after a group of sanitisation workers came out against the director in December, last year.

The tussle between the students and the administration escalated after the institute cancelled the accommodation arranged for the students attending the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in December, on the eve of the fest.

The charges against the director include forcing sanitisation workers of the institute to do domestic work including cleaning toilets at the director’s private residence, breaching reservation rules for student admission and showing caste discrimination against students and employees.

Adoor supported Shankar Mohan
Renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who is the chairman of the institute, denied all the charges against the director and continued to support him, despite the backlash.

In interviews given to some web portals, he had said a section of workers and students who fear they would lose their job and positions because of their fault were behind the allegations. He has credited Mohan for bringing discipline to the institute. The students, in an open letter, had accused Adoor of shielding Mohan.

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