Pune: Small trickling protests initiated 65 days ago, setup a chain reaction pulling in many stalwarts and professionals of film and television industry into the debate on Gajendra Chauhan’s post at FTII.
When protests continued more than anticipated, the state government decided to nip the resentment this week by using law enforcement and power tactics in taming the protesters.
Police stormed the campus Monday midnight and arrested 5 protesters, an act done by Pune police which was later declined by ministry sources as any act of retaliation from high level government agencies and having been a step taken by the local police.The arrest was made when the Director of FTII Prashant Pathrabe complained of illegal confining and manhandling by agitating students. As the issue gained momentum and peaked, the students were released yesterday on bail.
Protesters got a new supporter yesterday when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made an offer of setting up a National level FTII parallely at Delhi and providing space for this creative institute at National capital. Kejriwal tweeted – “Am shocked to hear whats gng on at FTII. An internationally reputed institute being systematically destroyed by govt’s wrong decisions. My offer to FTII students- Del govt can provide u temp space in Del. Run ur classes here till central govt agrees. If finally, central govt doesn’t agree, we’ll convert this place into full fledged institute n students can continue studying here only.”
Situation having slightly pacified now as arrests undone, government is trying to figure out how to bring a balance wherein a hasty action of removing Chauhan is avoided and a backfoot is abated. Ministry officials claim that the government has always maintained transparency in its efforts to resolve the issue. They added that Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley had spoken with FTII protesting students in detail and assured them of solutions.
Now, a 3-member government appointed team led by Registrar of Newspapers for India chief S. M. Khan is scheduled to visit the campus today and present a report on why the police had to take such steps.