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Arrest of students adds to chaos at FTII

education Updated: Aug 19, 2015 18:10 IST
Rozelle Laha
Rozelle Laha
Hindustan Times

Five students were arrested by police under sec 353 of IPC by a complaint filed by Prashant Pathrabe, director of FTII. (Image via Twitter, @Ani_news)

Tuesday's police crackdown at Pune's Film and Television Insitute of India (FTII) has added to the chaos at the premier institute with students saying they will have to pay for the loss with time and money.

Police arrested five students following the midnight crackdown on students accused of rioting and criminal intimidation after FTII director Prashant Pathrabe, who was 'gheraoed' by students protesting against the "irrational and unjustified" assessment of their incomplete diploma projects, filed a formal complaint on Tuesday.

"We have been running between the lawyers and the campus trying to get an interim bail for the arrested students. No classes are being conducted," said Nachiket Waikar, a student at the institute.

With academic life at a complete standstill, students say the loss of study hours will add to their woes.

"The amount of time needed to finish our course work will increase because of the government's strong stand on the chairman's appointment," said Vikas Urs, a final year cinematography student.

Apart from the regular classes that have been largely affected by the ongoing strike, the schedules of various courses have gone haywire and guest lecturers by external faculty have also stopped completely.

Unlike most institutes, for FTII students a bachelor's degree is not limited to attending classes as their grades largely depend on the projects they undertake during their academic years. With project work affected across departments due to the strike, students say they will have to spend more time to complete their coursework.

"We had to prepare during June and July for the projects that were scheduled for August and September. As we have not been able to concentrate on our preparations, our projects will eventually have to be delayed," said Urs.

Students also say they will have to shell out extra money to finish their courses as and when classes resume. On an average student has to pay about Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 10, 000 every month towards food and accommodation at the campus.

"FTII course structure is flexible and allows us to complete our coursework at our own pace. Spending those few extra months or weeks for curriculum is justified, but because of the government's careless response to the issue, we will now end up paying the extra fees for the additional months we have to spend here on campus due to the delay in academics," said Urs.

In response to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's offer to FTII students to come and attend classes in Delhi, Waikar said, "We don't know much about the proposal, but it might be a good idea."

The appointment of Chauhan, who is largely known for playing Yudhishthir on the TV version of Mahabharata, has outraged students as they fear political interference in the institute's functioning and curriculum. Students have also criticised the appointment of a full-time director with the involvement of Chauhan in the selection committee.

They also allege that the position, which was earlier held by eminent personalities like cartoonist RK Laxman, filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen and Adoor Gopalakrishnan and actor Girish Karnad, Chauhan lacks "stature and vision" to head the institution.