The government Friday refused demands from students and alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) to reconsider the decision to make BJP member Gajendra Chauhan the chairman, and re-look at the composition of the governing body. About 60 protesting students, who had gathered outside Shastri Bhawan, were also detained by the police.
“While the minister made it clear that there will be no rethink over the appointment of the institute head, he assured students and alumni members that the government had no intention of interfering in the working of the institute,” an official source told PTI.
The delegation, led by Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty and renowned Kannada filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli, met the joint secretary of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and later the I&B Minister Arun Jaitley.
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“None of the meetings were fruitful because they did not address the issue for which we had approached them. They said FTII would be made a centre of excellence but we wanted them to re-look at the constitution of the college… The governing body has some other members who don’t have high credentials, like Gajendra Chauhan. The latter was just a flashpoint,” said Prateek Vats, an alumni who was part of the delegation.
A total of 200 students — from FTII as well as student organisations from Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University such as the All India Students’ Association, the Democratic Students’ Federation and the Students’ Federation of India — were protesting when some of them were detained.
DCP (New Delhi) Vijay Singh said, “Several persons were protesting outside Shastri Bhawan on Friday. We had to disperse them because prohibitory orders do not permit forming groups and demonstrating near the premises. We detained 60 persons at Parliament Street Police Station from 3 pm to 6 pm.”
Meanwhile, Chauhan, who played Yudhisthira in the TV series Mahabharata, said he would do whatever the ministry tells him to. “I will follow whatever the ministry decides as it is their prerogative. I have been saying that protest is not the solution to the problem. It’s good that they sat together. Let the minister take the final call,” he told PTI.