Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday offered a temporary space in Delhi for FTII students to hold their classes, saying he was "shocked" at the midnight crackdown on their protests.
"My offer to FTII students - Del govt can provide u temp space in Del. Run ur classes here till central govt agrees," Kejriwal tweeted after five students of the premier Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) were arrested on charges of rioting, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation.
Kejriwal also said he would convert the temporary space into a full-fledged film institute if the Central government did not agree to the demands of the striking students.
My offer to FTII students- Del govt can provide u temp space in Del. Run ur classes here till central govt agrees(2/3)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 19, 2015
If finally, central govt doesn't agree, we'll convert this place into full fledged institute n students can continue studying here only(3/3)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 19, 2015
Opposition Congress leaders Manish Tewari and Randeep Surjewala too condemned the crackdown saying midnight knocks and arrests of dissenters were very typical of Modi government's style of operations.
Midnight arrest of FTII students harbinger of proverbial "Modi midnight knock Where dissent=arrest& even disappearance Naked Fascism at play— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) August 19, 2015
On Tuesday, police officials arrived at FTII around midnight and picked up the students from the campus and hostel on the basis of a complaint filed by the institute's director Prashant Pathrabe.
Pathrabe had been gheraoed the previous day by students protesting against "irrational and unjustified" assessment of some incomplete diploma projects. Three women students are among the 15 named in the FIR.
The crackdown was the latest in the tussle between the students and the Narendra Modi government which started in early June after little-known film actor and BJP sympathiser Gajendra Chauhan was appointed as the institute's chairman.
The arrests created a storm of protests on social media with many people calling the arrests an overreaction on the part of the government. Some even went so far as to compare it with the midnight knocks of the Emergency period.
Take this metaphor - these 5 are pandav, and Yudhisthir is kaurav. https://t.co/DurEnhACQc— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) August 18, 2015
Its shocking that the government can not find the right person with the right vision for FTII- they'd rather let it develop into this mess!— Rajat Kapoor (@mrrajatkapoor) August 18, 2015
No hope for a country where people think #FTII is waste of taxpayer's money and students should be in class, not on streets.— Dhrubo Jyoti (@dhrubo127) August 19, 2015
Arresting the students of #FTII is a murder of democracy..they r students, not any deadly criminals to be arrested at the crack of the dawn.— khushbusundar (@khushsundar) August 19, 2015
Others accused the striking students of abusing the FTII facilities and said the government's hand was forced.
Dear FTII students, I have openly supported your cause but this is not a great sight. You are harming your own cause. pic.twitter.com/vwJ1ui6qwt— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) August 18, 2015
#FTII has stopped admission since 2013 due to the backlog & overcrowding by the old students who staying in since decades,refuse to move out— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) August 19, 2015