FTII strike reaches Delhi; ‘Is it political’, asks Govt

RSTV Bureau

FTII-protestStudents of Pune based premier film school Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) have brought their protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chiarman of the institute to the capital. Several striking students of the FTII pitched a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.

For the last 53 days, the students have been on a strike seeking the removal of Mahabharat fame Gajendra Chauhan, also a member of the ruling BJP. Several prominent film personalities have also backed the student’s protest.

“It has been more than 50 days that we have been protesting. So, our purpose of coming to Delhi is that we should be heard. We had written to leaders from various political parties requesting them to intervene and urge the government to revoke the appointments of ‘unfit’ people and to set up a transparent procedure for future appointments,” said a student on the protest.

“Government is waging an ideological war against us. FTII will not bow to any political pressure. Government must initiate a dialogue,” said another student.

But the Union government, while claiming that it is open to discussion, has once again backed Gajendra Chauhan. The ruling party also accused the principal opposition party of “politicising” the issue.

“With Rahul Gandhi’s Pune visit it has become clear that the strike has taken a political colour or it is a political strike from the beginning,” claimed MoS Information Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

“If the issue is to be resolved, it has to be done by the students, the administration and the government and not by any political party,” MoS added.

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File: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi interacting with striking students at FTII, Pune. Photo – PTI

The Information and Broadcasting ministry has now made it clear that it will not hold any further talks with the striking students until the strike is called off and they returned to academics.

Earlier last week the strike got another dimension with the visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who had lent his support to the student’s protest. Taking on the ruling BJP and even the RSS, the Congress leader had claimed that the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman of the premier institute formed part of the RSS’ “larger scheme” to undermine educational, bureaucratic and judicial system.

“RSS and its ideologues are systematically promoting mediocre people in the system…they are hell-bent on undermining the educational institutions’ stature…it is not going on just in the education system but also in bureaucratic and judicial system,” Gandhi had said while addressing the students.

(With inputs from the PTI)