FTII students arrested on rioting charges, get bail

FTII students arrested on rioting charges, get bail

In an unprecedented move, police entered the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on Tuesday midnight and arrested five students on charges of criminal intimidation and rioting.

The five students were later granted bail by the Pune magistrate court. However, the move compounded the crisis over the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the member of the premier institute. The incident happened on the 69th day of strike by students, with no immediate solution in sight.

The arrest followed the registration of an FIR following FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe’s complaint with the Deccan Gymkhana police.

On Monday, students gheraoed Pathrabe at his office on FTII campus and cornered him over the assessment of projects of 2008 batch on a “pro-rata” or “as is where is” basis. The director was kept in illegal confinement by the students for 8 to 10 hours on Monday night and about 40 to 50 people came in when six had been asked to come.

“After the discussion on the agenda of assessment, when I told them my decision, they said ‘we will not allow you to go’. Initially, I refused to call the police but even after 3-4 hours, when they didn’t give in, I had to call police... they damaged the office... I was in a state of mental shock,” he said.

He replied in negative when asked whether he was doing all this at the instance of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.  Deputy Commissioner of Police Tushar Joshi said the arrests were done after receiving the complaint. “Five students have been arrested,” he said, adding that searches were on for other students.  According to reports, of the 50-odd students, around 17 has been named, of which five were arrested. Those named include a few girls.

Senior lawyer Asim Sarode, who represented the students, said that police have acted as if the students were criminals. “The police are acting under the direction of the state or as per the direction of the Centre to the state,” he said.

Students abused me, says director
FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe said students used interrogation techniques against him and subjected him to physical and verbal abuse, reports DHNS from Mumbai. “They formed chains to forcefully block me. They tortured me by using interrogation techniques, ​verbal assault, including asking the same question, and threatened me to take the decision back,” he said.

Central team to assess situation
A three-member committee set up by the Centre will visit the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on Thursday to take stock of the ground situation.
The committee, headed by Registrar of the newspapers for India S M Khan, will submit a report to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, official sources said.

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