Twelve students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who were booked in August for forcefully confining institute director Prashant Pathrabe to his office for several hours, were produced in magesterial court on Monday where they applied for a bail.
The students were out on anticipatory bail since the registration of offence on August 19.
Pathrabe had complained that he was roughed up and mentally tortured by the students. According to the students, Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials, who are currently engaged in talks with them, have promised to withdraw the cases once the strike ends.
Of the 50 students booked by police following an FIR by Pathrabe, arrest warrants were issued for 15. Of these, five were arrested by police in a midnight crackdown at the institute in which the students were picked up from their hostels.
The students were released on bail by a magisterial court, and 12 others who had approached the court, had managed to secure an anticipatory bail. After the anticipatory bail period exhausted, the students were produced before the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Rajesh Tiwari where they applied for a bail.
Defence laywer Shrikant Shivade argued that allegations of hooliganism and damage to public property levelled against students were aimed at breaking their agitation against the ‘unjust’ appointment of the FTII society.
Shivade also argued that there was no need for their custodial interrogation as the students had already provided the police with a video footage of the entire incident that took place on August 18.
Meanwhile, the students who have been booked for the offence, are hoping that the cases against them will be withdrawn by the Director and FTII administration after the strike is withdrawn.
Students, who attended four meetings in the recent talks between them and I&B Ministry officials said that the latter have conveyed to them informally that as soon as the present imbroglio at the institute is resolved and the strike called off, the administration will withdraw the criminal complaints.
The promise assumes importance in the light of the stance taken by the three-member ‘ground situation assessment’ Khan committee which had said that law should be allowed to take its own course.
“If one views the video recordings of these incidents, one can understand the amount of mental trauma the Director of the institute would have gone through. Hence, the Director was well within his right to call police and lodge an FIR. Although everyone demanded withdrawal of FIRs, the matter at present is before the court and law will take its own course,” the committee report observed.
Ajayan Adat, a final year student who attended the talks, said that although the students brought the committee’s report to the notice of the I&B delegation, officials said that there is no question about continuing the police action against students once the current issue is resolved.