On Chauhan’s Day 1 at FTII, protesting students detained

Pune, Jan 7 (IANS) As Gajendra Chauhan assumed office as FTII chairman on Thursday morning, several students stood in protest outside the campus yet again. They faced a lathi-charge and as many as 40 of them were detained, a student leader said.

The police resorted to a lathi-charg after the students attempted to restrict Chauhan’s entry into the campus for his first FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) Society meeting as chairman. The meeting is underway to finalise the governing council.

“Around 40 students were lathi-charged and detained for trying to enter their own campus gate,” student leader Reema Kaur told IANS.

According to media reports, police officers have maintained that students’ resistance turned violent, but Reema Kaur asserted the protest was “peaceful”.

“The students were protesting at the gate peacefully. Police staged a lathi-charge. They hurt many students and put them in the riot van. It is a curfew like situation on the campus. (There’s) police everywhere… They are not letting us go anywhere in campus, there’s more police than students on campus,” Reema Kaur said, adding that their demonstration was “silent, and made violent by the police”.

FTII Students’ Association president Harishankar Nachimuthu is also among those detained, Reema Kaur shared.

Nachimuthu had earlier told IANS that the students will be protesting on the campus to register their opposition to Chauhan taking charge.

Chauhan has assumed office seven months after his appointment, which was followed by a series of protests by students and celebrated alumni of the country’s premier film institute. The students had even gone on an indefinite strike on June 12 as they questioned his professional credibility to lead the institute due to his lack of “stature” and “vision”. The students withdrew the strike in October after 139 days.

Chauhan, best known for essaying the role of ‘Yudhishthir’ in B.R. Chopra’s “Mahabharat” and has also featured in small roles in various films like “Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge” and “Baghban”, was appointed as FTII chairman on June 9, 2015.

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