FTII students adamant on Chauhan's removal, strike continues

Pune, Jun 17: Notwithstanding the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's offer for a dialogue and an appeal to restore normalcy on the campus, the FTII students continued their strike for the sixth day today demanding cancellation of appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman.

The Ministry had yesterday offered to discuss "all relevant issues" after the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students stuck to their demand for revoking the appointment of Chauhan as chairman of its governing council.  

Gajendra Chauhan

While responding to the ministry's communication to an official memorandum of demand submitted by the FTII students' Association (FSA), the striking students have demanded "concrete proposals" from the Ministry headed by Arun Jaitley, thus declining an immediate dialogue with the government representatives.

The Ministry's letter, the contents of which were conveyed to the media by FTII Director D J Narain, said it was "right" of the government to make appointments but it was open for a dialogue to discuss all relevant issues raised by the students.

Asked today if FSA was planning to send a delegation to Delhi to discuss the issues with the I&B ministry as per the offer, the association in a statement said, "These are complex issues. We need to deliberate on them carefully. So the delegation team and where will the meeting happen and all are a little too early to arrive at. As stated earlier, the strike continues."

Among sloganeering and protests held on the campus included a street play to highlight the students' opposition to Chauhan's appointment on the ground that actor lacked "vision and stature" to head the FTII. The protests had yesterday spread to more places with students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and activists of All India Students' Association in Delhi expressing solidarity while those from Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata staged protests on their campus.

Chauhan, who is best known for his portrayal of Yudhisthir in the mega TV serial "Mahabharat", had earlier claimed there was a "conspiracy" behind the multiple protests. "It is a conspiracy of some individual, who has a personal issue here. This matter is being politicised," he had said.

Chauhan had requested the protesting students to stay away from this politics as it will not benefit them. On his credentials to be appointed to the FTII post, he had said, "I have been interviewed by the I&B Ministry multiple times before I was put on this post. It was not an overnight decision by anyone."


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