FTII students bring protest to Delhi, Govt hits out at Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 3: FTII students today brought their protest against the appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as its Chairman to the national capital even as the Government accused Rahul Gandhi of giving "political colour" to the 53-day-old strike.

Intensifying their stir, over 80 students of the prestigious Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) held a protest at Jantar Mantar. Chauhan, a BJP member and known for his role of 'Yudhishtir' in popular tele-serial "Mahabharat", has refused to step down.

FTII students bring protest to Delhi, Govt hits out at Rahul Gandhi.
His appointment as FTII Chairman on June 9 triggered an indefinite strike by the students on June 12. "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. Only Rahul Gandhi has replied and come forward," said a student protester.

Also read: B-Town stars bat for students in FTII row; 'Yudhisthir' Gajendra Chauhan cornered

The protest had the backing of different student organisations including National Students' Union Of India (NSUI). "Government is waging an ideological war against us. FTII will not bow to any political pressure. Government must initiate a dialogue," said another student.

Congress MP Raj Babbar and JD(U) leader K C Tyagi also participated in the protest and backed the students. They along with CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim, Rajiv Shukla(Congress), D Raja(CPI) and DP Tripathi(NCP) released a joint statement expressing their support.

"Their protests are rightful and Gajendra Chauhan has raised grave questions regarding the logic and process followed in the selection procedure," the statement read.

Union Minister for State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said government was open to discussions with the agitating students but was against politicising the issue. In some ways, an aspect has been coming up which suggested that despite solutions, despite the meetings, there was a section of students that was interested in continuing with the strike, he noted.

"And 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," he said, targeting the Congress Vice President.

Rahul had visited the FTII campus in Pune last Friday and attacked the RSS ideology alleging that it was systematically promoting "mediocrity" in various institutions.

"It is not wise to give a political institution a political angle. And if the institution holds a strike in Delhi and Congress workers participate in it, this too is not wise," Rathore said.

"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," he stressed. Rathore also said the government had adopted a liberal approach towards the students.

"In the last 50 days, no strong action has been taken considering that they are students." The students backed by several members of the film fraternity have questioned Chauhan's credentials for the FTII post. Some filmmakers have said he should be given a chance. 


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