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FTII calm after ghearo of director by students


Pune:  An uneasy calm prevailed this morning on the FTII campus here after the “gherao” of its director Prashant Pathrabe last night by the striking students and police intervention to release him from the office cabin.

The immediate provocation that led to last night’s “gherao”, by far the flash point of now nearly 70 days of protest against the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of Film and Television Institute of India, was, however, different.

The issue this time taken up by the agitating students was the administration’s decision to conduct assessment of incomplete diploma film projects of the 2008 batch, which they called “irrational, unjustified and unfair.”

The “gherao” was lifted after Pathrabe agreed to put on hold the assessment exercise till today morning.

Attributing ulterior motive to the decision of assessment, the FTII Students Association (FSA) has alleged that it was unjust and aimed at making a chunk of the students leave the campus in order to weaken the present stir.

According to FSA representative Ranjit Nair, the director promised the students last night that he would talk to Joint Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Ministry, today morning on the issue of continuing with the assessment exercise, to which some faculty members too reportedly expressed certain reservations.

FTII registrar U C Bodke today said police was called last night because the students were not ready to let go the director even after six hours of confinement in his office cabin.

After failure of the talks held with the students’ body in Delhi on July 3, the I&B ministry officials have made it clear that no further dialogue will be held on their demands until they go back to classes, closed since June 12.

The academic activity in FTII continued to be at a standstill as the agitating students remained firm on their demand for removal of Gajendra Chauhan from its chairmanship, who they allege, lacks credentials and vision to head the institute.

FTII’s former chairman and noted filmmaker Saeed Mirza yesterday came out in support of the agitating students, saying he understood the “anger of the students” and sympathised and supported their cause.

He said the chairman’s post was not just administrative and the person holding it needed to be aware of all kinds of cinema and performing arts.

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