FTII hunger strike enters fourth day

The indefinite hunger strike called by students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) to protest steep annual fee hikes as well as the allegedly prohibitive cost of the FTII entrance exam entered the fourth day on Thursday, with the administration refusing to yield to the students’ demands.

A total of 11 students — six from the FTII and five from the Kolkata-based Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) — are now on relay hunger strikes in Pune and Kolkata.

As many as 400 FTII alumni, several eminent film personalities among them, have signed a petition condemning the joint entrance fee hike and urging the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to give urgent attention to the issue of the students’ hunger strike.

A statement issued by the FTII Students’ Association (FTIISA) said that since “the [FTII and SRFTI] authorities are turning a blind eye to the situation the students request the immediate intervention of I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar into the matter”.

“Even as the health of the students deteriorates on the fourth day our strike, the apathetic administration is not heeding our concerns…While four students had initially gone on strike on December 16, two more from the 2018 batch have joined the protest,” said Rajashri Majumdar, general secretary of the FTII students’ association.

“The current fee structure and the admission fee are a huge burden for current and future students, many of whom, including my daughter, have taken bank loans and other education loans to pursue their studies. Keeping in mind the deteriorating health of the students, I would request higher authorities to urgently address this issue,’’ said Anuradha Ghosh, a parent of one of the students sitting on a hunger strike at FTII.

The Students’ Association maintained that the joint entrance test (JET) fee to the FTII and the SRFTI ranged from ₹4,000 to ₹10,000 – a sum which was clearly beyond students hailing from the middle and lower middle-class sections of the society.

“While premier post-graduate institutes such as the FTII and the SRFTI should stand for affordable education for all sections of society, but the present entrance exam fee and the overall tuition fees are excessive and prove that the government is bent on making education unavailable for the financially underprivileged section of the society by turning institutes like these into profit-making machines,” read the FTIISA statement.

The FTII Administration has convened a special Governing Council Meeting on December 27 in New Delhi to address the ongoing crisis.

However, the students’ association accused the administration and the I&B Ministry of “ignoring the fact that the lives of the striking students are at grave risk” by convening the Governing Council meeting eight days hence instead of trying to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 2:23:58 AM |

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