Goa CM questions FTII students’ protest at film fest

Panaji, Nov 23 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Monday questioned protests by FTII students at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here, and said “students could not protest as a matter of right”.

“It is not a matter related to my state. If something wrong or objectionable happens at IFFI, it reflects on the state government’s functioning. Why enter into a confrontation with my government without any reason,” Parsekar asked.

He was responding to Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students’ charge that they were being screened and harassed by police.

Asked if the state administration received directions from the Centre to screen FTII students, Parsekar replied in the negative, adding that holding a protest was not a right of the students.

“I do not believe that protesting is a matter of right. We are organising it (IFFI). They should bring the issue to me; I will take it to the person concerned. But it is not the way,” the chief minister said.

FTII students staged a 139-day strike from June 12 to protest the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman, claiming the artiste was unfit for the position.

The students called off the strike on October 29, but insisted their protests would continue.

Two FTII ex-students were arrested for shouting slogans and holding placards at IFFI inaugural on November 20. One student was allegedly detained for wearing a T-shirt with an FTII logo on Saturday.

Prateek Vats, a spokesperson for the FTII protesters, accused Goa Police of sustained harassment, and added that a group of 10 students was temporarily detained on IFFI campus on Sunday.

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