FTII students call off hunger strike ahead of talks

Pune, Sep 27 (IANS) FTII students on Sunday called off their hunger strike after the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry agreed to have a dialogue with them on September 29 in Mumbai. They hope to find “solutions”.

The development came on the 108th day of the strike, on which the students embarked in response to the government’s decision to appoint actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chairman.

A statement issued by Students’ Association of FTII read: “Today morning, we received an official communication via email from the joint secretary with confirmation of the meeting with the ministry officials on September 29 at the Films Division in Mumbai at 11.00 a.m.”

“The students of the FTII were happy to see a prompt response to their request for confirmation of the modalities of the meeting and will now approach this dialogue with a view to finding solutions with the ministry to resolve this crisis as soon as possible.”

“Please do note that the hunger strike has now been called off, but the strike of the FTII students still as of now, continues,” the FTII students said.

Over 250 students of the film institute have been on a strike as they find the credentials of the actor — best known for essaying ‘Yudhisthir’ in B.R. Chopra’s “Mahabharat” — questionable.

Till now, neither the students, nor Chauhan nor the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry were arriving at even the framework of a concrete solution. But now there seems to be a ray of hope.

In a letter addressed to FTII Students’ Association president Harishankar Nachimuthu, K. Sanjay Murthy, joint secretary, information and broadcasting ministry, has asked for names of five students who will attend the meeting on behalf of the students.

“The hunger strike be withdrawn immediately,” Murthy added in the letter.

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