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Adoor Gopalakrishnan Resigns as Chairman of Kerala Film Institute After Row

Adoor said the institute didn’t dilute reservation norms for admission but introduced changes to admission process.

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On Tuesday, 31 January, acclaimed filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan resigned as chairman of the KR Narayanan Film Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA) in Kottayam, Kerala.

But why? Ten days earlier, on 21 January, institute director Shankar Mohan had quit his post following months-long protest by a section of students and staff accusing him of caste discrimination on campus. 

Adoor, as the director is popularly known, had backed Mohan, stating that the allegations were false. In his resignation letter, Adoor wrote that the "baseless" accusations were attempts to impair Mohan's four decades of exemplary service to the film industry.

What Adoor said at a press conference: Adoor said that he had handed over the resignation letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan following a discussion with him on Monday, 30 January.

He released a five page statement in which he lashed out at the enquiry commission appointed by the government, accusing it of not contacting him or Mohan and submitting a report, which had taken lies spread in social media at face value. He also criticised the media for "failing to reveal the truth" behind the controversy.

"People like us have come out of caste, and religious barriers long ago. The director had to pay a price for enforcing discipline. Our endeavour was to make it a prestigious institute."
Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Filmmaker
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Where did it all start? KRNIVSA was set up by the Kerala government’s higher education department to impart training in film and audio-visual technology.

The students of the institute, named after the first Dalit president of India, KR Narayanan, had declared an indefinite protest on 5 December 2022, alleging caste discrimination had marred the admissions process of a Dalit applicant.

What were the allegations against the director? The students accused Mohan of having undermined the reservation norms for admission in the current academic year and of discriminating the staff based on their caste. The protesters also alleged that sanitation workers had faced caste discrimination on campus.

Reacting to the accusations, Mohan claimed allegations of caste discrimination were raised against him as he took a strong stand against corruption at the institute. Adoor, too, denied the allegations, saying that the controversy was engineered by disgruntled staffers who used students to falsely accuse the director of caste discrimination.

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Topics:  Controversy   Kerala   Caste 

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