Striking FTII students today called for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s action in resolving the 71-day-old crisis in the premier institute over the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman.
“Prime Minister should visit FTII to resolve the issues. All students in the country are feeling at risk by the government’s action’s towards the problems being faced by them. The students should strike hard and strong if this continues”, representative of the FTII Students’ Association (FSA) Vikas Urs told.
Five students, including Urs, were arrested on charges of rioting after the institute’s director Prashant Pathrabe was volume to his public event, following which the government formed a team of senior I&B department officials to resolve the deadlock. The students were released on bail by a Pune court yesterday.
A striking student said, “We are very curious to see with what agenda they (the officials) are coming with. We are clueless. The students’ body has not been told that the delegation is coming…We are hearing everything from the media. We are still expecting a good dialogue.”
Another student said, “We are open to talks. From day one we have been ready for a dialogue and finally the ministry has understood that we should sit across the table and discuss the core issues…I hope the officials come with an open mind and we are hoping a productive dialogue.”
Patharbe has said he was “tortured, threatened, physically pushed around and subjected to disrespectful and insulting behaviour” by about 40-odd students.
The students were reportedly agitated over Pathrabe’s decision to go ahead with the assessment of the incomplete diploma film projects of the 2008 batch.
Academic activity in FTII came to a grinding halt after students went on a flash strike on June 12 against Chauhan’s appointment boycotting classes.
The striking students of FTII today ruled out any compromise on their main demand of removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan’s as chairman of the institute.
Addressing a press conference after his arrest and release on bail by a local court along with four others, FTII Students’ Association (FSA) leader Vikas Urs said that conversely it should be the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which needs to dilute its hard posture on the controversial appointment.
Asked about the FSA’s stand viz-a-viz the proposed visit to FTII by a high-level committee to sort out the contentious issues, he said, “we are ready and willing for any dialogue but we will not compromise on our demands.”
Referring to the dramatic midnight police crackdown on the students, Urs said it amounted to “criminalisation” by the FTII administration which had lost all credibility.
Five students were arrested in a midnight swoop for rioting after they allegedly confined the premier institute’s director to his chamber.
The the government has formed a three-member team, headed by the Registrar of Newspapers in India S M Khan, to assess the ground situation in FTII and end the impasse, which entered its 70th day.