Adoor Gopalakrishnan has resigned as the chairman of the K R Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA) at Thekkumthala, Kottayam. The veteran filmmaker announced his decision at a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.
He quit the post in protest against the turn of events at the institute which culminated in the resignation of Shankar Mohan as the director of the film school. Mohan was forced to end his stint at the institute recently after the students staged a weeks-long agitation seeking his resignation, accusing him of practising caste discrimination against students and staff.
Gopalakrishnan met the media a day after handing over his resignation letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
At the press meet, Gopalakrishnan reiterated his previous stance that Mohan was absolutely innocent and vested interests were behind the allegations against him.
He said Mohan had worked hard to save the institute which was at the brink of collapse. Accusing the media of hearing only the version of the protesters, Gopalakrishnan said Mohan, who was invited to lead the film school as he had four decades of experience in the field, was insulted and shunted out of the institute.
He rubbished the charges that Mohan and his wife had meted out caste discrimination against the sanitation workers of the institute. "The fact is that there are no person belonging to the scheduled castes among the sanitation workers there. It was alleged that the workers were made to clean the director's residence. The director's residence is official. Since a house on the campus has not been built yet, a small house has been arranged for him at a rubber plantation some distance away from the institute. Cleaning that building every day is a part of the sanitation workers' duty. Since it's a small house, Mohan wanted the workers to clean its premises only once a week. One person was assigned for this. It takes less than an hour to clean the premises. An allowance was also given to the worker considering the travel expenses to reach the place. Nobody was made to clean the toilets there. Mohan's wife is an ordinary woman. From the allegations against her, it sounded like she was not even mentally sound," Gopalakrishnan read out from a statement.
He also slammed a staffer who had written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleging that Mohan had harassed him on caste lines. He said the employee had repeatedly shown negligence in his duties and was even responsible for the delay in the students getting e-grants. Gopalakrishnan said though he had moved the SC/ST Commission against Mohan, the commission had pulled him up as it found that his allegations were false. He, however, said he came to know about it from Mohan only.
Gopalakrishnan was also critical of the enquiry commission appointed by the state government following the students' protest. Mohan announced his resignation after the two-member committee submitted its report to the chief minister. Gopalakrishnan said the committee has not heard all the stakeholders. He demanded a probe by honest police officers into the turn of events in the institute.
Sanitation workers challenge Adoor
Soon after his press meet, the sanitation workers who had come out against Mohan challenged the claims made by Gopalakrishnan. Speaking to media, they said the former chairman was lying. They said contrary to what Gopalakrishnan said one of them belongs to a Scheduled Caste. They reiterated that one of them was made to clean the toilets at the director's residence with just a scrubber.