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Goa CM asks FTII students to call off IFFI protests

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has urged the FTII students not to go ahead with their planned protests at the IFFI inaugural venue today, even offering to negotiate with them over the issue.

Speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting, Parsekar first claimed ignorance about the protest and later said, “they should not do it”.

“They should not protest. If necessary I will speak to them, understand their issues…As well as speak to the Centre about this. After all the Central government is our own government,” Parsekar said.

The protesting FTII students will gather outside the venue of the opening ceremony of IFFI today.

“Some of us will sing songs, show films about our strike and distribute pamphlets and interact with filmmakers during IFFI-2015,” Kislay Gonsalves, spokesperson for the protesting students had said.

“In spite of the public outcry against the said appointments, the ministry refused to revoke the same despite being generally accepted as ‘mistakes’. We withdrew our 139-day long strike on October 12 without any of our core demands being addressed. The strike has been withdrawn but the protest is continuing,” he said.

“We will gather outside the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium, Goa University, Taleigao where the opening ceremony for IFFI is scheduled to take place,” Gonsalves added.

FTII students went on a strike on June 12 protesting against the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the institute’s Governing Council, claiming it as a partisan appointment by the government.

“The innovative, non-violent, academic and cultural nature of the almost five month long strike resonated with students, artists, filmmakers and academics not only across the country but also internationally,” Gonsalves said.

“However, instead of paying due weightage to the collective voice of the people, the government resorted to blatant high-handed measures to bulldoze the protests,” he added.

The 46th edition of IFFI will kick off later today with veteran actor Anil Kapoor set to preside over the opening ceremony as the chief guest.