During their face-off in the assembly today, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala released Kerala State Chalachitra Academy chairman Kamal’s letter, in which the latter recommends making permanent four employees who are left leaning in principle.
In his letter to Culture Minister AK Balan, director Kamal gave five reasons to make permanent Shaji H (Deputy Director – Festival), Rijoy KJ (Programme Manager – Festival), NP Sajeesh (Deputy Director – Programmes), and Vimal Kumar VP (Programme Manager – Programmes). While Kamal talks about their qualification and skills, he adds, “They are left leaning and have experience working in the left, modern cultural environment. Making them permanent would help maintain the left nature of the Chalachitra Academy, which has an important position in Kerala’s cultural landscape.”
People have turned against the director, and Aruvikkara MLA Sabarinadhan KS described it as “embarrassing to Kerala”. In a Facebook post, he said, “I like Kamal as a director as his movies portray humanity. However, Kamal as a Chalachitra Academy Chairman has thrown away all humanity to help get four left-leaning individuals permanent positions. When many youngsters suicide due to the lack of jobs, people like him who go to any length to satisfy the rulers are an embarrassment to Kerala.”
Ramesh Chennithala and Shafi Parambil took a hard stance against the government and accused the CPM of turning the “Public Service Commission into Party Service Commission”. “The LDF government has doubled the temporary recruitment despite PSC. The government shouldn’t turn PSC recruitment as if they were taking people into the AKG Centre. The current government has turned the state into a cemetery of PSC ranks,” said Shafi, reminding Vijayan of the 19-seat loss in the last Lok Sabha elections. The opposition also pointed out that the UDF government had handed over the Library Council recruitment to the PSC, but the LDF government overturned the decision, and they alleged backdoor recruitment to 116 teaching positions at the Calicut University.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan pointed out that AK Balan had written a reply to Kamal claiming that such reasons are not conditional for employment. However, the CM was silent when Chennithala asked about the details of a recruitment group based out of Thycaud. Moreover, the Vijayan said that the Opposition is using the recruitment issue as a smokescreen, and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan denied permission for an urgent resolution on the matter. The Chief Minister had also expressed sympathy over the death of Anu in August last year and added that it is natural for youth to feel anguish over not getting a job. He added that it is also humanitarian to make permanent employees who have spent decades working for the industry.
In August 2020, 28-year-old Anu had died by suicide when the PSC had cancelled the rank list of the central excise officer where the youth had secured 77th rank. In 2019, the PSC had faced a slew of controversies including leaked question papers, ripping of questions from a single guide, and a stabbing case involving three SFI members. The Public Service Commission has never had a controversy-free year, and under the LDF government, there have been many allegations of backdoor recruitment especially for party supporters. Kamal’s letter is an obvious picture of how this preference works for the CPM government.