T Nandakumar, one of the teachers who quit, told TNM that the resignation was because the students did not respect teachers ‘in the name that teachers did not have required skills’.

Students of KR Narayanan Institute in Kerala in a protest File image of the students' protest
news KR Narayanan Institute Protest Tuesday, January 24, 2023 - 18:58

Eight faculty members of the KR Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA), including the Dean, submitted resignations over the span of a week. The resignations were submitted to the institute’s director Shankar Mohan before he quit as the director on January 21. The resigning members allegedly felt that it was untenable for them to continue working at the institute while Shankar Mohan was being asked to step down. Shankar Mohan resigned following a long protest by students alleging casteism and bias in the institute, however, he has maintained that he stepped down not because of controversies, but because his term had ended.

T Nandakumar, one of the teachers who quit, told TNM that the resignation was because the students did not respect teachers ‘in the name that teachers did not have required skills’. He also added that Shankar Mohan was trying to bring discipline to the institute and was motivational toward teachers. Nandakumar was an Associate Professor of Cinematography at the KRNNIVSA, and was all praises for Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the Chairperson of KRNNIVSA, saying he is a renowned personality who is being subjected to character assassination. However, when asked if the resignation was in solidarity with Shankar Mohan, Nandakumar denied.

The government, meanwhile, has given the temporary charge of Director to Shibu Abraham who is the Finance Officer of the institute. He was given the charge on Tuesday, January 24.

Meanwhile, two days after the resignation of Shankar Mohan, the protesting students of the institute called off their 50-day-long indefinite strike on Monday, January 23. The students withdrew the strike after a meeting with Higher Education Minister R Bindu upon the assurance that all of their demands will be taken care of. Unseating Shankar Mohan was one of the main demands of the students. Shankar Mohan, however, claimed to TNM that the teachers who resigned were the ones 'who knew the reality' and that it was his discipline that the students did not like.

Shankar Mohan allegedly discriminated against the students on the basis of caste and made the female sanitation staff of the institute clean toilets at his official residence. The students also alleged that he sabotaged reservation norms, failing Dalit students, and creating barriers for them to get admission in the institute named after the country’s first Dalit President KR Narayanan. 

How an institute named after the country’s first Dalit president failed a Dalit student

Chairman Adoor Gopalakrishnan has been stubbornly backing Shankar Mohan despite serious charges of discrimination. He dismissed the concerns of the female staff as propped-up tactics for fame.

Read: When Adoor Gopalakrishnan contradicts his art that vilified inequality

The Left Democratic Front government of the state had appointed a Commission to probe into the allegations. The Commission submitted its report on January 16, the contents of which have not been made public yet. Even as the Commission conducted its inquiry, Shankar Mohan remained in office.

Dear Adoor, caste did not end because you discarded your surname at age 20

 

 

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