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I&B team arrives in FTII, optimistic of resolving crisis


Pune: A three-member delegation of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is at the FTII campus here today to hold discussions with the faculty, director and agitating students to find a solution to the crisis triggered by the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan at its chairman.

The team led by S M Khan, which reached the city last night, said they are “optimistic” of an early solution to the face-off leading to the now 71-day-old strike.

“We have come with an open mind and will be talking to the faculty members, the director and the students,” Khan told reporters here.

Meanwhile, the Film and Television Institute of India’s (FTII) Director Prashant Pathrabe denied rumours that he had proceeded on leave following the Tuesday night’s police crackdown on students who had gheraoed him and subsequent arrest of five protestors.

The FTII Students’ Association (FSA) had yesterday denied Pathrabe’s claim that he was “tortured” during the prolonged gherao at his office on Monday evening.

Besides, over 60 visiting faculty members, in a letter to the I and B Ministry, had urged the government to shun “highhanded and confrontationist” view of the strike and adopt a pragmatic and honourable approach to find a solution.

The striking students have questioned Chauhan’s “credentials” to head the premiere institute. They have also objected to the director’s decision to conduct assessment of incomplete diploma film projects, now put on hold.

The students had yesterday also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention into the matter.

“Prime Minister should visit FTII to resolve the issues. All students in the country are feeling threatened by the government’s insensitivity towards the problems being faced by them,” FSA representative Vikas Urs had said.

Five students, including Urs, had been arrested on rioting charges on Tuesday following the gherao. They were later released on bail by a local court.

Meanwhile, a group of Congress-affiliated NSUI activists
today staged a noisy demonstration at the FTII main gate raising slogans against the Narendra Modi government, calling it “anti-students.”

“Gajendra Chauhan hatao, FTII bachao,” was another slogan raised during the demonstration.

The mediapersons, including electronic and print, were today initially barred from entering the FTII premises by the authorities when the three-member I&B delegation reached the campus.

The entry was, however, facilitated after strong objection and protest by newspersons.

Meanwhile, the I&B team, led by S M Khan (Registrar of newspapers in India) and his two other colleagues S Nagathanan (Under Secretary I&B Ministry) and Anshul Sinha, commenced their discussion with the FTII staff and faculty members on the current imbroglio.

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