FTII Students Begin Hunger Strike Demanding Gajendra Chauhan's Ouster

| September 10 , 2015 , 12:52 IST
The students of the FTII, on Thursday launched a hunger strike demanding the ouster of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute's chairman. Three students of the institute are sitting on a hunger strike while more students are expected to join them later. [caption id="attachment_122024" align="aligncenter" width="700"]FTII Row: SC Refuses Students' Plea To Remove Gajendra Chauhan As Chairman SC has refused to entertain a plea for judicial intervention to end the logjam at FTII, Pune[/caption] The hardening of stance comes after Abhijit Das, a faculty member who had entered into a hunger strike on the Teachers’ Day (5 September), fell ill and was forced to withdraw. "The students will be sitting on an indefinite hunger strike if our demands are not met by the government which has put us in this situation. There is no option left," FTII Students' Association (FSA) representative Vikas Urs has earlier told journalists. The strike by students of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India entered 90th day on Thursday with academic activity on the campus on a stand still since June 12 in protest against the appointment of Chauhan, a BJP member, best known for playing the role of Yudhishthir in epic TV serial Mahabharat. Meanwhile, Disappointed with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, that has failed to resolve the crisis, over 180 filmmakers including Mani Ratnam, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Dibakar Bannerjee, Hansal Mehta, Resul Pookutty and many others, have decided to request President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene. Earlier the Supreme Court has refused to entertain a plea seeking judicial intervention to end the stalemate. Reacting to the Supreme Court's order, an FSA representative said the ruling will not impact the strike. A 3-member I&B Ministry team had on August 21 held talks with the agitating students, faculty and other stakeholders to end the protracted strike which it had described as "fruitful" and said it would submit its report to the government on August 24. "We had very good discussions with all the stakeholders -- --staff, faculty, students and the alumni -- and we could understand the issues involved. All are satisfied with the discussions and we will submit our report to the I&B Ministry very soon by Monday," Registrar of Newspapers S M Khan, who led the team, had said after the talks. He had, however, remained non-committal on whether Chauhan will be removed. The contents of the report are not yet in the public domain. Apart from celebrities in the entertainment industry, the agitating students have received support from political leaders including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, who visited the campus to express solidarity with them.