Amid the ongoing clamour surrounding the protest by FTII students at the IFFI in Panaji, former students of the institute have appealed to the government to intervene to solve the issue and ensure students’ safety and security during the 46th edition of the prestigious festival.
A statement by ex-students of the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and FTII Students’ Association on Sunday emphasises that the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was an important “academic activity” for students, and they should not be deprived of it.
“The students of FTII are being victimised and forced to miss screenings at IFFI. IFFI is an academic activity of students which is crucial to a students learning.”
“Having created all the possible obstacles in stopping students from taking part in IFFI, the director of FTII is responsible for the students at IFFI,” the statement read.
“The ex-students and the students association appeals to the director to immediately intervene and resolve and free students from all such discrimination. The students are participating with valid authorizations and are representing FTII. They need to be respected and treated with utmost dignity.”
This comes after two former FTII students were arrested for protesting over the appointment of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan at the inaugural venue of the 11-day film gala in the presence of union ministers Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar.
In another instance, Ashutosh, an FTII student, also claimed that he was detained by police on Saturday for wearing a T-shirt with an FTII logo.
The statement further read: “Also we, the ex-students and the students of FTII, appeal to the ministry to stop victimising the students and ensure their safety and security during the duration of the festival.
“We unequivocally condemn the police action and harassment of ex-students, independent filmmakers and the students for trying to reach out with the concerns.”
FTII students staged a 139-day strike from June 12 in protest against the appointment of Chauhan as the institute director, claiming that the artiste lacked credentials for the position.
They later called off the strike, saying their opposition over the appointment would continue in a “democratic way”.