At a time when Students Federation of India (SFI) is already sailing through troubled waters as its unit members at University College in Thiruvananthapuram have been accused of stabbing a student, the student's wing of CPI(M) is yet again in the middle of another controversy. This time, trouble is brewing at the Kalamassery Government Polytechnic College in Ernakulam district, between a teacher of the college and its SFI unit.
Lizy Joseph, a teacher of the college, has complained to Kerala Gazetted Officers’ Association (KGOA) that the SFI unit has been humiliating her at the college for the last few days. The complaint letter, dated July 9, says that the unit was sticking posters about her on the campus with the intention of humiliating her.
The tension between Lizy and SFI started in June. Lizy was in-charge of the men’s hostel in the college then.
The SFI, however, has alleged that Lizy burnt a few documents of two former hostel students. Lizy, in her letter, on the other hand, said, “A student had complained against me to the Principal, stating that I deliberately lost the book of a former student of the college. The Principal had formed an inquiry commission on the matter then.”
When the inquiry commission was formed, Lizy was removed from the post. However, Lizy said in her letter that despite this, the SFI started keeping boards on the campus, expressing their protest against her.
“The boards had my name on it and it was humiliating. This is causing me emotional trauma,” she stated in the letter.
Meanwhile, the SFI has rejected the claims that its members personally humiliated the teacher. Talking to TNM, SFI unit president of the college, Dani Dominic, admitted to putting up posters against the teacher but there was nothing personally humiliating her.
“The poster was regarding Lizy teacher burning project report and certificates of two former students of the college. They passed out last year but had not vacated their rooms completely, and so some of their belongings were yet to be cleared out. To our knowledge, they had taken the permission of Lizy teacher, who was in charge of the hostel then, to clear their belongings later. But she burnt their internship reports and certificates. How can a teacher do this and what will they (the former students) do to get their certificates back,” said Dani.
He also added that though the Principal had removed Lizy from the post of the hostel in-charge on their complaint, they were not satisfied with the action. “The posters were stuck as a protest against this issue,” says Dani.
Although SFI has taken down the posters, Dani said they will continue their protests if proper action is not taken against Lizy.
When TNM contacted Lizy, she did not respond on the matter further but told that she only gave the complaint regarding this to KGOA. She further says that she doesn’t know how the issue got leaked to the media, “but I will not withdraw my complaint,” adds Lizy, who was SFI’s district committee in Idukki during her college years.
Meanwhile, tension is now brewing in the college as Kerala Students Union (KSU) - the state’s student wing of the Congress - is demanding action against SFI. On Tuesday, members of KSU conducted a dharna in front of the Principal’s office over the issue.