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FTII students to step up stir against Chauhan’s appointment

Gajendra Chauhan

Pune: The FTII students today vowed to continue their protest against the appointment of television actor Gajendra Chauhan as the new chairman of its governing council by boycotting classes and shutting down administrative offices on the campus.

About 150 students pursuing various courses at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) went on a flash strike yesterday.

Asserting that they would continue their protest till the demand is met, the students body alleged that it was purely out of consideration of his affiliation with BJP that Chauhan was chosen for the key post.

“A person who has an official affiliation with the ruling-BJP and who lacks the vision and stature of the past chairpersons in film-making, has put a question mark on the process of selection for the post earlier held by eminent people like Girish Karnad, Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalkrishnan,” Harikrishnan Nachimuthu, who heads the FTII students’ association, told PTI.

Chauhan, who played the role of ‘Yudhishthira’ in television serial “Mahabharata”, has been a member of the BJP over two decades, the student leaders said.

At the gate of FTII, a billboard was put up by the protesting students asking “Gajendra resign and leave”.

FTII director D Narayanan told PTI that the institute authorities have opened the channels for dialogue with the students.

“We are having a dialogue with the students to find a way out amicably”.

A final year student pursuing course in film direction said Chauhan lacked the “experience and stature and quality” of his predecessors to merit his new posting, which is “politically coloured”.

Meanwhile, the students’ association has decided to send their representation on the issue objecting to Chauhan’s appointment to Information & Broadcasting ministry.

“We will re-look the current protest only after getting a positive response to our demand by the authorities,” Nachiputhu said.

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