Updated: July 30, 2015 12:49:39 am
A few weeks ago, DJ Narain, former director of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, had written to the parents of its students in an attempt to put an end to their strike against the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan and other members of the FTII society.
At the Press Club in Mumbai Wednesday, standing by their wards, the parents of a number of students finally voiced their opinion in a discussion that took place in Mumbai.
Shobha Awasthi, whose son is a second-year direction student, said, “We raise strong objection to how the members of the government are trying to label these students as Naxalites and anti-Hindus. They are creative people, leave them out of this politics. We are having sleepless nights ever since the FTII director has issued a notice threatening to rusticate the students on strike.”
The meet was organised by Hum Aazaadiyon Ke Haq Mein, a Mumbai-based collective, and the FTII Students’ Association. Academicians and parents of FTII students came together to voice their concerns about the state of higher education in the country.
“We are going through tough times. All state-funded institutes such as FTII, IITs and IIMs are facing political interference. What’s scary is that any kind of disagreement with the government policies is being met with threat of violence,” said Nandini Manjrekar, associate professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.
Other academics who were present at the event included GG Wankhede, retired professor of School of Education, TISS, and Dr Mitra Parikh, head of department of English, SNDT University.
Since talks with the information and broadcasting ministry did not make any headway, the students have been on strike for 48 days.
The FTII students, with the help of the alumni association GraFTII, have been trying to galvanise a students’ movement to address the larger issue of political interference and lack of transparency in the case of appointments in the state-run institutes. The FTII students will meet their IIT, Bombay, counterparts on Thursday. Earlier, TISS students had lent their support to the FTII strike.
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