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FTII students to stage demonstration in Delhi today

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Pune: Nearly 80 students of the beleaguered FTII are here to stage a demonstration in the national capital on Monday to highlight their demands, mainly removal of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman.

Protesting against Chauhan’s appointment for his alleged lack of “vision and artistic credentials” to merit the post, the students have been boycotting classes since June 12 even as the strike entered its 53nd day today.

“We will start our march from Jantar Mantar and head for the Parliament Street and will be joined by activists of other like-minded organisations to express their solidarity on the issue, which involves preservation of the Film and Television Institute of India’s artistic and academic excellence and ethos,” FTII Students’ Association (FSA) representative Ranjit Nair told PTI yesterday.

The students’ agitation assumed a political hue last Friday with the visit of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to the FTII campus where during an interaction with them, he attacked the RSS ideology alleging that it was systematically promoting “mediocrity” in various institutions.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has made it clear that it will not hold further talks with the students on their demands until the strike is called off and they returned to academics.

The earlier discussion held in Delhi on July 3 by the FSA representatives with I&B Minister Arun Jaitley failed to end the stalemate.

Chauhan, known for his role of ‘Yudhishtira’ in popular tele-serial “Mahabharat”, has rejected calls for his resignation.

Earlier this month, the students body had written to leaders from various political parties requesting them to intervene and urge the government to revoke the appointments of ‘unfit’ people and to set up a transparent procedure for future appointments.

Several eminent actors including Anupam Kher, Rishi Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Salman Khan among others have come out in support of the agitating students of FTII and openly opposed Chauhan’s appointment.

PTI