Pune | The strike by the students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) to oppose the appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan and four others on the FTII society entered its 100th day today.
Although the strike and the accompanying agitation has found support from ex-students, film fraternity and several other quarters, it is yet to achieve its stated objective of forcing the government to revoke the appointment of Chouhan and four others with links to BJP or RSS and putting in place a system to make future appointments on the society transparent.
While the students have held three rounds of talks one official, two back channel with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in the last three months, they have failed to break the deadlock.
Although the three-member fact finding committee sent to the institute last month has submitted its report, there has been no action by the ministry, which has also not made the report public.
The situation on ground, meanwhile, has taken a turn for the worse with a relay hunger strike that students started from September 10. So far five students had to be hospitalised due to their fast.
Earlier this week, the I and B Ministry conveyed its readiness to hold another round of talks with students. On Thursday, we wrote to the Ministry asking for further details about the day and venue of the proposed meeting. We are keen on resolving this issue as soon as possible, said Vikas Urs, a students’ representative.
The health of three students who are fasting at present was reported to be stable. Of the three, Himanshu Shekhar, an acting student, has been fasting since September 10. He was admitted to hospital on Wednesday where he was reportedly tube-fed. He continued to his hunger strike after returning from the hospital.
Meanwhile, the students have made elaborate plans for the 100th day of the strike and accompanying agitation. Several ex-students and artists from Mumbai, Hyderabad and other cities are expected to visit the campus on Saturday. Groups of students and artists have planned to perform at the campus as well. Select student films will also be screened accompanied by discussions.
Rakesh Shukla, a film direction student, said, apart from Pune, similar events and demonstrations are lined up for the next three days in many cities and towns including Delhi, Banglore, Patna, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Thrissur, Muzaffarpur, Lucknow and Kolkata. These include protest march, film screening, art exhibition, among other things. In cities where our ex-students live, they are actively involved in organising these events. The aim it to keep up the pressure until the government takes the right decision.
Shini J K, a TV direction student, said they had taken all required permission to hold activities inside the FTII campus. ?The director gave the permission on the condition that outsiders won?t be allowed to attend the events, she said. FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe refused to comment.
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