Stalemate continues in Kolkata film school SRFTI over segregation of hostels 
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Stalemate continues in Kolkata film school SRFTI over segregation of hostels 

At the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute the fight between students and the authorities over separate hostels for male and female students is far from over.

kolkata Updated: Oct 19, 2017 10:49 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute,Separate hostels,Expulsion
Students at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute during the gherao of its director Debamitra Mitra (in green sari) to protest the expulsion of 14 female students for refusing to move to a new women’s hostel. (HT Photo)

Students at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) plan to resume the gherao of the institution’s director Debamitra Mitra on Friday when it reopens after Thursday’s Diwali holiday.

Students have been at loggerheads with the SRFTI authorities after 14 female students were expelled on Monday for refusing to relocate from the old common hostel for men and women to the new women’s hostel.

“We will continue gherao until our demands are met. Also, the authorities must withdraw the decision of rusticating students from the hostel and academics,” said Debottam, one of the agitating students.

The authorities have so far refused to budge and no classes were held on Wednesday at the central government funded institute.

Tension between the students and authorities had been rising over the past couple of months over segregation of hostel for men and women - a decision that a section of the students have vehemently opposed.

The authorities also filed police complaint against male students, who apparently in a show of solidarity with the women students had occupied rooms in the hostel meant for women.

Police have so far stayed outside the institute.

“There is no question of backing out on the decision of segregation of hostels for men and women. Both the governing council and the academic council asked us to implement it by August this year. We had to rusticate those students after repeated warnings failed,” SRFTI director Debamitra Mitra told HT.

Read more: SRFTI throws out 14 female students for occupying rooms in hostel for males

She said that hostel segregation was prioritised in the wake of a number of complaints of sexual harassment over the past couple of years against faculty members and students.

Students, however, allege that the authorities have raised the issue of segregating hostels to divert attention from other issues raised by the students over the past one year.

“Regarding the segregation of hostels, the students’ body is of the stand that this is a logistically and morally problematic directive. It is a gender-based segregation which does not consider the work practices and conveniences of the students involved at all,” the students’ association said in a statement Wednesday.

According to the students’ association, the old hostel has room for 140 occupants whereas number of male students living on the campus is more than 150. On the other hand, the new hostel can accommodate 60 but there are only 40 women students who live on the campus.

This has forced some first year students to living in a portion of the staff quarters where they allege the facilities are poor and the drinking water ‘smells of plastic’.

“Moreover, it’s a film school where work pattern and atmosphere cannot be compared with any other institution. Students work in groups and keep working till late nights. Things do not happen as per a tight schedule as any other institution. Restricting entry to respective hostels on the basis of gender will hamper work atmosphere,” an agitating student said.

First Published: Oct 19, 2017 10:33 IST