FTII protest Other States

Three students on indefinite hunger strike, hospitalised

With the Centre continuing to maintain a thunderous silence on the imbroglio that has paralysed the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), an indefinite hunger strike begun by students demanding the immediate revocation of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman has now led to three of the agitators being hospitalised.

Ankit Thapa, a sound recording student of the 2013 batch, was the third student to be hospitalised since the agitators commenced on their ‘relay hunger-strike’ last Thursday calculated to draw the attention of the Information and Broadcasting (I & B) Ministry to their demands.

Mr. Thapa was rushed to a private hospital on Sunday evening following a sharp decline in his sugar level. Himanshu Shekhar, one among the first group of the hunger fast agitators, is still holding out despite the passage of more than 100 hours, informed Vikas Urs, spokesman for the FTII Students’ Association (FSA).

Two new students, Dhwaj Bhatnagar, from the 2013 Sound batch and Shahi, from the 2012 Direction batch, have joined in the indefinite hunger strike, said Mr. Urs.

“The hunger strike will go on in relays till the Ministry pays heed to our demands,” Mr. Urs said.

Meanwhile, as the indefinite strike entered its 95 day, the FTII administration made it clear that it would not foot the medical bills of students’ on hunger strike.

FTII Limbo

Gajendra Chauhan, an actor-turned-politician, was appointed as the chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on June 9, 2015. His appointment triggered an >indefinite strike by students of the institute on June 12.

Who is Chauhan?

Mr. Chauhan is best known as 'Yudhisthira' in the Mahabharata TV series aired on television in 1988-90. He has been associated with BJP for over two decades but formally joined the party in 2004.

Why protest?

Students of FTII have questioned Mr. Chauhan's body of work and "creative credentials." The students doubt if Mr. Chauhan can fit in the shoes of predecessors like R.K. Laxman, Syam Benegal, Girish Karnad and U.R. Ananthamurthy.

Political vendetta?

Students claim that Mr. Chauhan's appointment is an attempt of the ruling party to foist its right-wing agenda upon the Institute.


Besides, prominent film personalities, All India Students' Association (AISA), the Kolkata-based Satyajit Ray Film Institute, and students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are all coming out strongly in support of the striking students.

  • If they don't want you, they don't want you. Pushing for the chairmanship is getting you no where. Let self pride play a role and retire

    - >Rishi Kapoor

  • FTII needs to be in safe hands. Students need somebody who they can trust and look up to. It's their future which is at stake here.

    >- Rajkumar Rao

  • This is something we should be talking about and by this we will clearly know that it is a mistake and that he has no credentials...If I would have been in place of Chauhan and I would have seen that my fraternity does not want me, I would have withdrawn.

    >- Amol Palekar

  • Don't think what the students are asking for is illogical, don't think they are asking for the moon. They are just asking for a fair chance, a fair opportunity, correct faculty, correct syllabus.

    - Ranbir Kapoor

  • I have neither been approached by students nor by authorities. But being an alumnus of this institute to which I owe my film career, I am more than willing to step in and sort out matters if given the chance to do so.

    - >Shatrughan Sinha

Prominent chairmen

Anwar Jamal Kidwai
(1974 - 1977)

First chairman, founder of Mass Communication Research centre at Jamia Millia Islamia.

>R.K. Laxman
(1977- 1980)

Legendary cartoonist, Padma Bhushan, Vibhushan. Known for creating the character "Common Man".

> Shyam Benegal
(1981 - 1983)
(1989 - 1992)

Known for pioneering parallel cinema. Recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award among others.

> Mahesh Bhatt
(1995- 1998)

Award-winning director, screenwriter, producer in mainstream Hindi cinema.

>U.R. Ananthamurthy

Eminent author, Padma Bhushan. Pioneered Navya movement in Kannada language.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 12:39:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/three-students-on-indefinite-hunger-strike-hospitalised/article7652107.ece

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