A day after the director of the KR Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA) Shankar Mohan announced his resignation, students of the institute who had been demanding it said that they will stop their protest after all their other demands are also met. The students have been on strike for a month and a half, alleging caste discrimination and poor treatment of women employees by Shankar Mohan at the institute. However, Shankar, who submitted his resignation to the Kerala government on Saturday, January 21, claimed that his decision was because he had completed three years in the post, and not over the controversy about him. The move comes after the enquiry commission, tasked with finding the truth of the allegations, submitted its findings to the government.
"The Higher Education Minister (R Bindu) has informed us that there will be a discussion with us on January 23. The most important among our demands was that Shankar Mohan should resign. However, 14 other demands were also raised by the students who went on strike. Students will decide about ending the strike after an assurance is given that all the demands shall be taken into consideration and the report of the enquiry commission (that investigated the allegations) will be made public," said a statement released by the studentsâ€™ council of KRNNIVSA.
Among the other demands, they want the student representatives in the executive and academic councils reinstated, a properly functioning system to distribute E-Grantz scholarships following proper government guidelines, fee exemptions for SC/ST students, the remaining vacant seats in all departments filled up, and so on.
The students had earlier expressed their disappointment at the stand taken by the institute's chairperson - renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan - who had been defensive of Shankar Mohan. Adoor had also since given a few media interviews, criticising the allegations and speaking poorly of the women employees who spoke out about the alleged caste discrimination. The protesting students said that the remarks he made are ill-suited to the post he held. "As long as he continues in the post of the chairperson, the students will not cooperate with him," the statement said.
Watch: Shankar Mohan resigns after 47 days of protest