The government on Tuesday indicated that it was willing to talk with the students of India's premier film school in Pune after a five-day-long protest against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute's chairperson.
The information and broadcasting ministry wrote a letter to students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), saying the government wished to discuss their concerns and urged them to "restore normalcy" on the campus and resume classes.
"Through a letter, a senior official from the I&B ministry has conveyed to the students that the ministry is ready to discuss all the relevant issues raised by them. The students will now have to find appropriate time to engage in a talk with the ministry," said FTII director DJ Narain.
According to Narain, the ministry has also mentioned in the letter about its discretion to appoint Chauhan as FTII chairperson. "After this letter I appeal all the striking students to engage in talks and restore normalcy on the FTII campus."
Reacting to the ministry's letter, an FTII students association said they will discuss the issue and respond to the ministry.
Around 150 students from different courses of FTII have been on strike since June 12 opposing Chauhan's appointment.
The Centre last week nominated Chauhan, best known for his act as Yudhisthir in TV show Mahabharat, as the president of the FTII society. Actors Vidya Balan and Pallavi Joshi, filmmakers Raju Hirani and Jahnu Barua and cinematographer Santosh Sivan were nominated as members of the reconstituted FTII society.
The move had come about five months after the government was accused of stuffing the censor board with BJP members or supporters.
Chauhan, who officially joined the BJP recently, was a special invitee for the saffron party's national executive council.
Other members of the FTII society such as Anagha Ghaisas, Narendra Pathak, Pranjal Saikia and Rahul Solapurkar are also said to have a close association with the RSS or the BJP. Students described the move as "arbitrary" and a "political", and decided to protest the move on ground.
Defending his appointment, Chauhan said, "To raise a question on my capability is wrong because they don't know anything about me apart from what they have read on Facebook, media. They should at least give me a chance to work before making any comment."
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