news Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 05:30
  A little over a month after they went on strike protesting the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India, students are a worried, but determined lot – despite the threat of rustication, they have decided not to back down. On July 15, director of FTII DJ Narain threatened to rusticate students if they did not call off their strike, which began 34 days ago. If the institute goes ahead with its threat, nearly the whole college would be expelled. Such a situation would affect final year students the most. While determined to continue their strike and urge the government to meet their demands, they are also prepared for the worst. The strike initially began with a demand for Chauhan’s removal and later extended also to the appointments of Anagha Ghaisas, Dr. Narendra Pathak, Rahul Solapurkar and Shailesh Gupta. The latter four are members of the FTII society headed by Chauhan. The striking students have objected to all the appointments as they said that the ruling party at the centre was interfering with the institute’s academic freedom by appointing people who share the BJP’s ideology. A student who spoke to The News Minute on condition of anonymity said that the students did not want to back down despite the threat of rustication because they felt that they would be victimized further and would have to continue their studies in an institution whose academic rigour would be poor. President of Students Association of FTII Harishankar Nachimuthu said that it was unfortunate that the management had taken such a harsh decision, but added that the students were firmly united. “We want a transparent process to select the chairman and other members of the FTII society. After all, the post of a chairman is not ornamental. Tough policy decisions have to be taken by him.” He added that it was not a personal vendetta. “We don’t have anything personal against Gajendra Chauhan but keeping in mind the stature of this institute, we want someone of national and international repute to handle this position,” he said. However, the student who requested anonymity said that there was a lot of uncertainty at this point. Director Narain’s term ends on July 18, after which the selection committee would appoint a new person to replace him. However, until then, the interim director could do a lot of damage to the students’ futures. They feel that caving in to the pressure now, could invite reprisal. Students say that they want transparency in the selection process for all posts of the society, and also want representation from all the departments, instead of the acting department which is predominant at present. The Students’ Association had also written to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting seeking another round of talks to resolve the issue amicably and is awaiting a reply.   
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