Govt unwilling to revoke Chauhan appointment, no end to FTII row in sight

Last Updated 04 August 2015, 13:13 IST

An early end to the two-month long FTII row seems unlikely with the government today indicating its unwillingness to revoke appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman and no further talks with the agitating students on the anvil.

According to highly placed sources, the government is not inclined to back out on Chauhan's appointment and no further meetings is also likely between top functionaries and the striking students of Pune's Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in near future.

The sources said the two Bollywood directors, who had acted as mediators between the students and the government, have reportedly backed out from supporting the agitators, thus no further meetings are possible.

Students representatives have already met Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley twice but no tangible solution has come about, with the students going to the media alleging that the government wants to privatise the institute.

The sources said that in view of the past record at FTII, the government has also proposed handing over the institute to Bollywood to run it, with financial support from the Ministry.

The frequent strikes at FTII have been highlighted by the I&B Ministry during the times of eminent chairmen like Shyam Benegal and Mahesh Bhatt. There has been no convocation at FTII for many years now ever since actor Dilip Kumar was "hooted out" in one such programme.

The sources said there are some students who take nearly a decade to complete a three-year course and have been staying on the campus for long, fuelling such protests.

The striking students have brought their protest against Chauhan's appointment to the national capital yesterday after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addressed the students at the institute a few days ago. The government has accused Gandhi of giving "political colour" to the student strike.

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

An unsigned unofficial note, apparently from a top FTII official and sent to PMO, referred to an incident in the past when some people were attacked by ABVP members and "off and on" presence of activists of the Hindu right wing organisation on the campus.

Chauhan, a BJP member and best known for his role of 'Yudhishtir' in popular tele-serial "Mahabharat", has refused to step down. His appointment as FTII Chairman on June 9 triggered an indefinite strike by the students on June 12.

(Published 04 August 2015, 13:13 IST)

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