Anagha Ghaisas, whose appointment along with that of chairman and four other members of the FTII society led to the ongoing strike by the students, has called the agitating students goons and said their strike should be “crushed”.
Under fire from student organisations and some political parties for her remarks, Ghaisas, however, later said she had been misunderstood and her comments misinterpreted.
During a television debate last week, Ghaisas, while referring to the gherao of FTII director Prashant Pathrabe by the students, had allegedly referred to the latter as “goons”.
Following her remarks, the Sambhaji Brigade has called for a ban on her entry to FTII campus and urged the Prime Minister to revoke her appointment.
“My comments have been misinterpreted. What I meant was that the students behaved like hooligans last week when they gheraoed, confined and harassed the director. The behaviour of students was like that of goons and not like obedient students. They should present themselves as students and not resort to the ways the goons adopt,” she said, clarifying her comments.
Elaborating further, Ghaisas said she has pressed for disciplining the “errant lot” who had a long history of creating ruckus and disturbing peace on the campus of the film institute. “When I said students’ strike should be crushed, I was citing the example of errant kids who need to be disciplined. What do you do if your children do not listen to you? You discipline them, right. That is what I have stressed for,” Ghaisas, said.
Advocate Aseem Sarode, who was also part of the TV debate, said, “At least thrice, Ghaisas called students goons and said their strike should be crushed. I have video tapes of that debate… I think what she is saying could be government’s view. The government, it seems, wants to crush the strike.”
Countering Sarode, Ghaisas said everybody was busy siding with students who had been for years allowed a free run. “Shockingly, nobody is talking about the disrespect they showed to the national anthem last week. I have a video which shows students shouting and creating ruckus while singing the national anthem. When police arrived, they started singing our national anthem in a derogatory manner. The students at FTII have always behaved in a similar manner over the years and reports of successive committees are a testimony to this fact. I am in possession of the reports which exposes the students’ behaviour over the years.”
Stating that the students have no sense of respect for our country, she said, “They continue to live on people’s money. Is this what we as people condone in our country? Is this their creativity ? What are they if not hooligans… it is useless waste of the taxpayers money. These students need to learn respect and discipline instead of creating nuisance by agitating on irrelevant topics.”
Students, meanwhile, said they were not “goons” and were eager to get back to their classrooms. “We are not goons… we are students eager to get back to our classrooms. There is nothing political in our strike… we have our demands and have made them known to all,” said Satchit Pulos, general secretary of the FTII Students’ Association.
Ghaisas termed protests against her remarks as irrelevant.
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