Jaitley refused comment on Gajendra Chauhan: FTII students

 New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday “denied to comment” on the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairperson of FTII, said a delegation of students after a meeting with the minister.

“The minister refused to comment on the appointment of Chauhan as the chairperson but instead assured that in future there won’t be issues that hamper the curriculum of the students,” Prateek, a student who was part of the delegation, told IANS.

Earlier in the day, the group, who had come from Pune also met K. Sanjay Murti, joint secretary of the film division, to discuss the issue. However, sources said there was no “conclusive outcome” due to which the group sought an appointment with Jaitley.

The delegation also said that Jaitley during the meeting assured of proper infrastructure and exposure for the students.

“We need to discuss the issue with other students first and only then will we take a call on whether we will return (to Pune) or not. However, the assurance by the minister has given us some relief,” Prateek said.

The delegation is demanding the removal of Chauhan from the chairmanship of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and also reconstitution of the entire governing council of the institute.

However, Chauhan urged the students to end their agitation and return to their classes.

“Whatever the government says, I will follow. I wasn’t aware about the meetings but I urge the students to call off the protests and start attending their classes otherwise, it will be a great loss for them,” Chauhan told reporters in Pune.

A total of 200 students protesting against Chauhan’s appointment were detained by the Delhi Police on Friday afternoon here.

Besides students from FTII, others from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Delhi Technological University also joined the protest.

They held a demonstration outside the ministry of information and broadcasting at Shastri Bhavan here.

“FTII is being saffronised and people close to the BJP are being appointed as heads of cultural and art institutions,” a student told IANS.

The students of the institute earlier went on an indefinite strike, saying that Chauhan’s appointment was politically motivated.

Sources said that the ministry officials heard the students in detail during the meeting which began at 3 p.m.

After Chauhan, who played ‘Yudhishthir’ in ‘Mahabharat’, was appointed as the FTII chief, there were protests from students who said there should have been a person of higher stature to head the institution.

Similar sentiments were also expressed by some of the alumni of the institution.

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