The Film and Television Institute of India students who went on strike four months ago against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman returned to their classes on Wednesday, but said protests against the BJP member will continue.
Chauhan lauded their decision to end the 139-day strike.
“I’m realising my responsibillties now. I would also like to congratulate the students for taking such a good decision of going back and attending their classes. The studies were getting affected. That needs to get covered up,” Chauhan said. “I again appeal to the FTII students to come and talk to me, we can resolve issues.”
The actor, best remembered for his work as Yudhishtir in TV series ‘Mahabharat’, also said he would “definitely meet” the students and talk to them.
Rajyavardhan Rathore, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, said, “We welcome the decision of the FTII students to resume attending classes. We are committed to making FTII an institute of national importance.”
The students said they will continue to protest in a “peaceful and democratic manner” against Chauhan, who they say is not fit to head the country’s premier film institute.
Ranjit Nair, spokesperson for the Students’ Association, said that the strike was over. “We have come to realise, after our long-stretched negotiations with the government, that the government is a bully,” a miffed Nair said.
He said the students will now invite people from all over the country who face similar problems.
“The strike will escalate now… It’s time to register our protest all over again and take it to different heights,” Nair said. He said filmmakers and academics should come forward and take the protests forward in Mumbai.
The students held multiple meetings with officials of the information and broadcasting ministry but there was no end to the stalemate.
The government refused to buckle over Chauhan, forcing the student community to blink.
Chauhan said over telephone that it was time for them to return to their classes.
The decision to end the strike followed the government’s “incongruous approach” towards the students’ cause, said another student leader, Reema Kaur.
“The 139 days of strike have not only made us stronger but more aware of the state that we today live in,” said Kaur, a final year student of editing and a part of the core committee of the Students Association that spearheaded the strike.
“We voiced ourselves loud and clear but it is the government’s adamant stand and incongruous approach towards our valid demands that has made us completely lose faith,” Kaur said. “Looking at the ministry’s unrelenting approach and the amount of our valuable time spent, we have decided to end the strike and resume classes.”
“However, our voices will not shut, but grow louder. The protests shall continue democratically and in the peaceful manner as they have,” Kaur added.