Wednesday, December 13

FTII students on hunger strike.

After a student of the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who was on an indefinite hunger strike with two others, was admitted to the hospital Friday, parents of FTII students Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the government to declare FTII an “institute of national importance”. By doing so, the parents believe, the institute will gain more autonomy and it will then be possible to reconstitute the board of governors. They said the ongoing crisis has left them worried about their children’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. The letter also requests that the FIRs against some of the students be withdrawn. “We request the government to declare FTII as an institution of national importance on par with the IIM or IIT to bring about autonomy in its working. This will also help in reorganising the board and bring in professionals with stellar track record and body of work in filmmaking,” the letter stated. A T Raman, father of FTII student Vidhat Raman, said, “We are upset that this has gone on for so long. I did not expect this from the government that claims to be on the side of the youth.” The students, protesting against appointment of actor and BJP leader Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII chairman have been on a hunger strike since Thursday. Appealing to the government to take the ordinance route to solve this issue, the parents emphasised that they “are proud of the students for standing up for what is right”. Meanwhile, 188 filmmakers, including former FTII director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty and director Saeed Mirza have also sent a memorandum to I&B Minister Arun Jaitley on the issue.