Institute of Integrated Medical Sciences (IIMS), Palakkad, Kerala has recently been in the eye of a storm for insulting an upcoming actor, Bineesh Bastin. Hailing from the marginalised community, Bastin was first invited as the chief guest to a college day function and then prevented from going on stage at the same time as director Anil Radhakrishnan Menon whose North 24 Kathaam had picked up the National award. Menon had reportedly refused to share the stage with Bastion, a mason-turned-actor.
A shocking back story is that this Government Medical College in Palakkad was built with money diverted from funds that was originally meant for improving the basic living conditions of people from the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. Established by the then Oommen Chandy-led Congress government in the state, it was a first of its kind institution set up by the state government, diverting more than Rs800 crore meant for SC/ST communities.
Never in their long and chequered history have Dalits and Tribals of Kerala, who continue to be battered due to marginalisation and severe exploitation, yearned for a medical college of their own. They had sought better education and health facilities along with restoration of their alienated forest lands and dwellings. But the Congress promised an exclusive medical college comprising super-specialty treatment facilities for Palakkad in the election manifesto of 2011 with an eye on the preferences of voters in Palakkad assembly constituency comprising predominantly of the members of upper castes.