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Striking FTTI students seek Rahul’s help, also write to MPs

FTII

New Delhi: With the impasse over their demand for removal of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as FTTI chairman continuing, the striking students of the institute have sought the intervention of Rahul Gandhi to resolve the “crisis”.

As the strike by the students entered the 40th day today, they also approached MPs across party lines including Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who hails from Pune where the prestigious institute is located, and JD(U) leader K C Tyagi.

Sources said today that in their letter to Gandhi, students have sought his support to check the “assault on institutions of higher learning” and invited the Congress vice president to come to Pune and back their cause.

In a letter to Gandhi, the President of FTII Students Association Harishankar Nachimuthu said the appointment of Chouhan has raised questions over the process of appointments in the institute and sought his intervention to resolve the “crisis” in the FTII, the sources said.

In the letter, Nachimuthu is also learnt to have requested Gandhi to take up the issue of FTII like he had taken up the issue of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT, Chennai.

After an agitation and a political controversy, the ban on the Dalit students body Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) was finally revoked by IIT authorities.

IIT Madras had earlier de-recognised the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle over an anonymous complaint to the HRD ministry that it was trying to spread hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies by distributing provocative pamphlets and posters in the campus, raking up a controversy.

When contacted, Nachimuthu told PTI that the students have written to Members of Parliament “across party lines” and listed Javadekar, Gandhi and Tyagi, adding they have written to other eminent personalities too.

Nachimuthu added that FTII students had also communicated to the Information and Broadcasting ministry about their willingness to hold more talks but there had been no positive response yet.

A delegation of students and alumni of FTII had earlier met I&B minister Arun Jaitley but a breakthrough remained elusive as the ministry stood firm on its decision to appoint Chauhan, against which the students were protesting.

FTTI authorities have also served an ultimatum to the striking students to return to academic work or face the risk of rustication.