Pune, Jun 15: The Modi government came under fresh attack today over the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of FTTI's governing council with the decision that has led to a strike by its students dubbed as an "assault" on one of the country's finest institutions.
As students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) remained unrelenting in their demand for removal of the actor from the post, Chauhan, best known for his portrayal of Yudhishtir in mega TV serial Mahabharat, alleged that the protests were "politically motivated" and whipped up by someone for his own personal interest.
With the strike by the students entering the fourth day today, the FTII students association was still awaiting the response from the Information and Broadcasting ministry. Chauhan said he was against the protest by the students and regretted that questions were being raised about his capabilities without knowing him.
The actor said he was willing to discuss the issue with the striking students. 'Swaraj Abhiyan' leader Yogendra Yadav, who was here to address a farmers' meeting against the land bill, also visited the institute to support the students "just demands". Yadav alleged that Modi government does not understand the word 'autonomy' and this is not the first institution where "autonomy is being eroded" by it.
"It is not mere a question of saffronisation, the real question is of degradation of all institutions where people without necessary qualification are being appointed," the former AAP leader said.
This is an assault on the finest institution of the country which is not in the interest of the nation, he said. Yadav said the earlier government also did the same thing, but the present government has "hit the rock bottom."
Among film personalities to pledge support to the agitation was documentary-maker Anand Patwardhan, who visited the campus and said he was "glad that students stood up against increasing politicisation of institutions by current government.
I know what is happening throughout the country and I am not surprised by this trend," he said. The FTII students' association has alleged that Chauhan does not have "vision and stature" of his eminent predecessors to merit his posting by the government.
"To raise a question on my capability is wrong because they don't know anything about me apart from what they have read on facebook, media etc. To raise a question on me is wrong," he added.
The association president Harishankar Nachimuthu told PTI that a letter has been written to the I&B Ministry about its demands but there is no response as yet. "We will wait till a reply is received", he said, asserting that the strike will continue till the demand is met.