Protests and political activism is not new to students of FTII. For long, students have been vocal and proactive about the way the institute is run.
According to student accounts, whenever there has been any effort by the I&B Ministry to encroach upon the institute’s autonomy, they have stood up and put up a resistance.
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“There have been so many strikes and protests that it’s difficult to recount,” says a student when asked about strikes at the institute in the recent past.
“The protests, like the current one, have always been undertaken for the betterment of the institute and welfare of the present and future batches. We are not expressing our anger about something that’s happening in a foreign space,” said Vikas Urs, a final-year student.
Among the most notable protests in the recent memory was in 2001-2002, when the institute’s then director, veteran actor Mohan Agashe, decided to restructure the courses. The institute remained closed for most part of the academic year, forcing Agashe to step down from the post on his own.
In 2010, students went on a protest to oppose the I&B Ministry’s move to “remodel the institute on the lines of public-private partnership and introduce expensive industry-oriented short-term courses”. The proposal was finally shot down.