Even as the newly-appointed FTII director Prashant Pathrabe offered to hold a dialogue with agitating students to end the month-lock logjam, the students asserted that they would call of their strike only after the FTII society is “put into a passive state”, which means all political appointees including Gajendra Chauhan are sent packing.
The students body of FTII in fact decided on Saturday to intensify their agitation along with other student organisations by protesting in front of Parliament during the monsoon session.
Pathrabe, who took charge on Friday replacing D J Narain, Saturday sounded confident of breaking the stalemate at FTII by holding dialogue with the students and offering to resolve their grievances. “I would like to first hear out the grievances of the students and then, in my capacity, as the director would do everything possible to address their problems,” he said.
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Pathrabe hinted that the director has a major role to play at FTII and not the chairman.
“Yesterday, when I took charge the outgoing director was explaining the director and chairman’s role. From it, I gather that the chairman is available during the year only for six meetings for the FTII society and governing council and other than that he apparently stays put for three-four days. This means, the chairman is hardly available at FTII whereas the director is always at the beck and call of the students,” he said.
When contacted, Chauhan, said he welcomed the appointment of Pathrabe and “would like wish him all the best”. Chauhan had last week said that he had would not resign and that the students should give him a chance to prove his mettle before passing a judgement.
Reacting to the offer, Ranjit Nair, a student representative, said they have no problem in Pathrabe taking over as director unlike their stiff opposition to the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan, who he said was an outright political appointee.
“We are ready to hold dialogue with the new director and place our grievances before him. But our strike will end only when the FTII society is put into a passive mode…,” he said. He said this was their principal demand when they met Union I&B Minister Arun Jaitley.
Meanwhile, the students body of FTII has decided to protest along with other student organisations in front Parliament during the monsoon session. The dates will be decided on the general body meeting that will be held late night on July 18. The students also said that reports about the staff association being against the strike is untrue.