Lights out at film school
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- Published 3.04.08
|Students at SRFTI on Wednesday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta|
Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute (SRFTI) went under lock and key on Wednesday for an indefinite period, following Citu-backed labour trouble.
A dispute between the authorities and a group of contract labourers over dues had disrupted work on the campus on Tuesday. Hopes of resuming classes were dashed on Wednesday, amidst talk of police inaction.
“The security workers, whose contract was terminated on March 31, didn’t allow the new security agency hired by the institute to function today. We were forced to close the institute as the campus is unsafe. We have informed Union minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi about the matter. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s office has also been alerted,” said SRFTI director Swapan Mullick.
Trouble broke out on Tuesday when the authorities replaced Star Security and Detective Service with GD Security Company. The Citu-affiliated workers refused to comply with the order and denied entry to the new agency.
“We don’t want this stalemate to continue but the authorities must retain the security guards who have been working here for more than a decade,” said Citu leader Samarendra Roy.
The institute authorities blamed the cops for failing to deal with the “trespassers”. “The police had assured us that we could resume classes on Wednesday. But they haven’t responded in the desired way,” alleged Mullick.
A team of policemen has been keeping guard on the campus since Tuesday evening. “We have a posting on campus and are ready to sit for a discussion with the authorities to ensure the reopening of the campus,” said Praveen Kumar, the superintendent of police (South 24-Parganas).
The students are bearing the brunt. “The library is closed, film screenings have been stopped and all our projects are stuck,” said Samimitra Das, a first-year student of direction.