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FTII crisis: Director, Dean differ on “bouncers” on campus


Pune: Under attack for deployment of bouncers at FTII, institute director Prashant Pathrabe today justified the decision saying it was taken in view of the “insecure atmosphere” on the campus after the students confined him to the cabin but its Acting Dean resented the step holding it gave the institute the “look of a military camp”.

FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe, who drew flak from various quarters for the step he had taken after the striking students resorted to “gherao” him, said scaling up the security was an “administrative decision” taken in view of the “insecure” atmosphere on the campus.

“I had not asked for extra security but it is true that I felt extremely insecure following my 11-hour ordeal during the gherao by the students in office cabin on Monday evening. The FTII administration took the decision on the extra security following the incident,” Pathrabe told PTI.

Taking a sharply critical stand, FTII’s Acting Dean Sandeep Chatterjee strongly disapproved of the deployment of bouncers on the campus as an extra security step and said it gave the look of a ‘military camp’ to the educational institution.

The FTII students, faculty and alumni have reacted sharply against the measure arguing that it conveyed a wrong impression of the situation at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and projected the students as “criminals or terrorists”.

Even the three-member Information and Broadcasting Ministry team, which held talks with all stakeholders to find a solution to the 72-day old strike over the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan, took a different view on the beefed up security in the form of “bouncers”.

The delegation leader S M Khan told reporters that he was of the opinion that the beefed up security was not required on the campus.

Pathrabe, however, maintained he was “tortured” by the students during the gherao and the footage circulated by them was a “selective leak” to camouflage the truth.

“The video footage being shown in the media is only of the initial stage of the 11-hour gherao and does not show my worsening ordeal during the confinement,” he added.

Khan said the team had a “fruitful discussion” with the students and other stake-holders and will submit its report to the I&B Ministry by Monday.

On I&B Ministry team’s interaction with the students and faculty, Chatterjee said they showed a “very positive frame of mind” and gave patient hearing to all stakeholders.

The student representatives, too, sounded positive about the approach of Ministry officials, saying they are hopeful of an early resolution to their demands, which includes removal of Chauhan.

Reacting to I&B ministry’s interaction with the students and faculty, Chatterjee said the delegation members led by S M Khan showed a “very positive frame of mind” and gave patient hearing to all stakeholders.

Meanwhile, activists of pro-CPI(M) SFI and DYFI and Janwadi Mahila Samiti staged a demonstration before the FTII pledging support to the 72-day old students’ agitation seeking removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan from the institute’s chairmanship.

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