Talks inconclusive, stalemate continues at SRFTI

Kolkata, Oct 21: Talks between the students' body and the SRFTI management to resolve the stalemate over segregation of girl students to another hostel remained inconclusive today with both sides refusing to relent. Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) Director Debamitra Mitra told PTI, "We talked for several hours with the students but they are insisting on those two conditions which all the faculty members unanimously decided are non-negotiable". "They have also submitted a charter of demands which also includes some fresh ones like improving hostel facilities and hiking budgetary allocation for projects and we had already started working on that or implementing the same," she said. Once the institute reopens on Monday, the management will talk to the students on demands for better facilities but it will not tolerate browbeating from students, she added. The director further added the students had been holding protests disrupting the academic and administrative work of the institute. "We are urging them to withdraw the stir," she said. Students' Body spokesman Akshay Gouti said it will continue with the protests till the two decisions are withdrawn. "We are ready for more talks on Monday," he said. The expulsion of 14 girl students from the SRFTI following their refusal to vacate an old hostel and shift to a new one triggered protests on the premier institute's campus on October 17. The students alleged that building a separate accommodation for girls was tantamount to moral policing. Denying the allegations, the SRFTI director had said the authorities had taken this decision to build a separate ladies hostel, upgrade curriculum and infrastructure at the institute after receiving an approval from the Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry in 2013. "Earlier, the boys and the girls had separate accommodation in the same block of an old hostel building. After receiving the I&B ministry's approval in 2013, we undertook the construction of a new building for the girls," the SRFTI director said.