FTII row: Three-member panel begins talks with students

  • Yogesh Joshi, Hindustan Times, Pune
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2015 17:14 IST

A three member team from the information and broadcasting ministry on Friday began discussions at Pune's FTII "with an open mind" on solving the crisis over the appointment of little known TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the premier institute's chairman.

The team is holding discussions with staff members in the morning, which will be followed by meetings with faculty and students in a bid to end the ongoing protests.

“We have come with an open mind. Let me meet all the stakeholders. We will talk to the faculty, non-teaching staff, students and the director,” team member SM Khan, registrar of Newspapers for India, said.

Refusing to comment on the arrest of five students for gheraoing institute director Prashant Pathrabe, Khan said the three-member committee will try to “calm the atmosphere.”

The students who have been on strike for more than 70 days seeking the removal of Chauhan, said they look forward to the talks.

"We are willing, even in this tumultuous situation, to engage in a meaningful dialogue to arrive at a solution,” said a spokesperson for the FTII students body.

The three-member I&B team of Khan, Anshu Shukla, director (films), and S Nagnathan, undersecretary, will start interacting with the students later in the day.

“The three senior officials from the I&B ministry will speak to students and the administration to understand the situation,” said Prashant Pathrabe, the FTII director.

This is the first time the ministry has sent a delegation to resolve the continuing row at FTII, which began on June 12.

Earlier this week, the abrupt decision by the FTII administration to assess the incomplete projects of around 50 students of the 2008 batch escalated tensions, with students seeing it as the government’s attempt to ensure their exit from the institute.

“The ministry officials will mainly talk about the issue of incomplete project assessment and the situation that has emerged after this decision,”UC Bodke, FTII registrar, told Hindustan Times.

The students held a meeting with seniors and alumni to discuss the points to be raised with the ministry officials.

The FTII administration, initially chose not to allow media inside the campus, but reversed the decision after a while.

Teachers stand with striking students

On Thursday, teachers and faculty members at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) came out in support of striking students, while condemning the manner in which action was taken against them.

In a letter issued to the information and broadcasting ministry, several faculty members said assessment of incomplete projects is “unethical” and technically not feasible.

“We wish to respectfully point out that by adopting this aggressive confrontationist path, you are only deepening misgivings and hardening positions all around,” said the letter.

Meanwhile, the FTII campus witnessed a ‘video war’, with several footages doing the rounds of what happened when the students confined director Prashant Pathrabe in his cabin on Monday.

While one video clip showed students indulging in high-pitched sloganeering as they gheraoed the director, who was forced to stand on a table, another video showed them having a peaceful conversation with him.

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