Students sit on dharna at Central Institute of Psychiatry in Kanke, Ranchi, on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The threat of expulsion has failed to quell the campus protest at Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) at Kanke, Ranchi, with the students venting their grievances on Friday.
The MPhil and PhD students, who are on an indefinite strike since Monday in favour of a host of demands starting from Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) recognition for the twin courses to a hike in stipend, continued their agitation even as counselling for vacant MD (psychiatry) seats was on.
On Thursday, institute director D. Ram had served a notice (dated August 28, No. 179) to the agitators, asking them to call off the strike, failing which they would be expelled.
The authorities tried another tactic on Friday. In the morning, CIP sent its labour welfare officer A.K. Singh to speak to the students and convince them to disperse from the institute’s entrance as they drew the attention of candidates, who had turned up from across the country to take part in the counselling process.
Singh also informed the protesters that appointment of permanent faculty members — the absence of which prompted the RCI not to renew recognition to the courses since 2009 — was beyond CIP’s authority as it is done by Directorate General of Health Services and Union ministry of health and family welfare.
However, the students were not willing to buy any argument, saying that CIP was meting out step-motherly treatment to them.
According to them, the institute was flouting a number of RCI norms, which includes deviation from syllabus.
The MPhil students claimed that their syllabus prescribes 400 hours of lessons on psychological intervention (therapy) during the two-year course apart from mandatory training sessions. However, these trainings never took place at the institute.
“We go to the outpatient department (OPD) twice a week and attend to patients from 9am to 5pm. Thereafter, we get busy with post-OPD work from 6.30pm to 9pm and at times till 10.30pm. We would have enjoyed all this provided whatever has been mentioned in the syllabus was covered too,” rued Sandip Jaiswal, a second-year MPhil student.
Their other grouse is lack of qualified teachers. For example, the department of clinical psychology never had a full-time professor.
“There is no one to listen to our problems. We had demanded an anti-ragging cell and were told that it has been constituted. But we want to know who are the members of the cell so that we can turn to them in case we need to,” Ferdinand, another student said.
The students are also clamouring for an increase in stipend from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000.
“MPhil students of clinical psychology get this amount in other institutes. Even at Rinpas, the state has promised to increase it to Rs 12,000. Why cannot we expect the same?” asked Arpita.
Singh promised to convey their grievances to the director. Ram could not be contacted for comments.