The Students Federation of India -a Left student wing- now seems to be singing a different tune. Till a day ago, the SFI was willing to accept nothing less than Lekshmi Nairâ€™s resignation.
But on Tuesday, SFI came out with an official statement that the Law Academy Principal need not resign, but could just step aside for five years. The sudden change in stance is reportedly due to pressure from the parent organisation, the CPI(M), which forms the major constituent in the present LDF government in Kerala.
This comes on the heels of failure of talks that were held late on Monday night between student union representatives and the Academy Directorial Board in a bid to resolve the ongoing conflict between students and the college Management.
Reports say Dr. Leksmi Nair had expressed her willingness to proceed on long leave, a suggestion that found no takers among the protestors who walked out of the first round of talks that lasted for just half an hour.
The Management then called them back for a second round of talks which too failed to yield any conclusive outcome. All student representatives walked out of the meeting, except for the SFI which insisted that 90% of their demands had been met by the Management.
State Revenue Minister E Chandrashekaran meanwhile entrusted the state Revenue Secretary to conduct a probe into allegations of excess land in the Academyâ€™s possession.
The probe was ordered based on complaints filed by Administrative Reforms Commission Chairman and Left veteran VS Achuthanandan and former state BJP president V Muraleedharan.
The Kerala High Court also dismissed a petition filed by Leksmi Nair asking that protest sheds set up within the college premises be dismantled. The Court asked the police to intervene only if free movement of either students or college authorities was obstructed in any manner.
Protests have now entered the 21st day with the Management not willing to concede to the studentsâ€™ demand for Lekshmiâ€™s resignation.
Criticism against the reluctance shown by the state government to intervene in the matter is rising, even as charges of gross maladministration against Lekshmi were found to be true by a sub-committee appointed by the Kerala University Syndicate to look into the matter.
A police case too was filed against Lekshmi based on a complaint by a student about casteist remarks directed against him by the Principal.
The state Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Special Cell was earlier directed by the State Commission for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes to look in to allegations against the college Management forcing Dalit students to do menial jobs.
The State Human Rights Commission had even registered a suo motu case against the Principal for reportedly disparaging Dalit students by their caste names.