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FTII students call off 139-day strike, protests to continue


Pune : Agitating students of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India today unilaterally called off their 139-day-old strike, but made it clear their protest against appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman will continue.

They also ruled out any “proactive engagement” with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry until the issue of appointment of Chauhan, best known for his role of Yudhishthir in teleserial Mahabharata, and four other FTII society members, gets resolved.

FTII Students Association (FSA) representative Vikas Urs said the students have taken a collective decision to go back to academics with “immediate effect” in the best interest of the fraternity.

Referring to FSA’s talks with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which could not end the stalemate, Urs said the ministry conveyed the impression that it had no mandate to take a decision in the matter.

“Now, it goes beyond the five appointments (of Chauhan and four FTII society members) which we had questioned. The right wing attitude is exposed and we know who is running the country,” he said, apparently targeting BJP’s ideological mentor RSS.

He said, “Although the FSA has decided to call off the strike, the students will not have any proactive engagement with the ministry until the appointments issue is resolved.”

When asked how would the students react to Chauhan’s taking charge, another FSA respresentative Rakesh Shukla said, “Our protest has been peaceful so far and it will continue like that. He is not acceptable to us.”

Urs said the students will now “expand and take their battle forward” after having been successful in making the common man understand the concerns raised by them.

Another FSA representative Yashaswi said, “The government was stifling voice of dissent and adopting repressive measures. There is a clear attempt to impose one ideology.”

To a question about possible victimisation of students, Shukla said, “We certainly have that fear.”

A series of talks between the agitating students and government’s representatives, including one with Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in New Delhi on October 20, had failed to break the deadlock as the agitators refused to budge from their main demand for removal of Chauhan, while the Ministry rejected it outright.

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