FTII mess continues: I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore says students’ strike is directly influenced by Rahul Gandhi

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The politics over protests demanding Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chairman Gajendra Chauhan’s removal took an even uglier turn on Monday when Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore accused students of being directly influenced by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

“Somewhere a small segment of students was being misled by a political party or person. Had Rahul Gandhi visited FTII earlier in the last ten years, probably the situation would have been much better in the institution,” Rathore told reporters.

Rathore even went on to say that making this issue political was wrong on the part of the students and that it showd the source of their strike, while indirectly targeting the Congress.

“(Rahul) Gandhi’s Pune visit made it clear, either this matter has taken a political turn or it’s a political strike from the beginning,” the minister said.

“A section of students wants to continue with strike even after Govt held discussions with students to resolve issue,” Rathore added.

Meanwhile, protesting students who have been demanding Chauhan’s ouster since the last 52 days, today descended in the capital to raise agitations at Jantar Mantar.

Last week, Gandhi had visited the institute in Pune to discuss problems the students were facing. During the two-hour long meeting, Gandhi said that the present BJP government was continuously promoting mediocrity in not just FTII but across all prominent educational institutes of the country.

“If you dissent, they call you anti-national, anti-Hindu,” Gandhi told students at the institute.

“Calling anti-national or anti-Hindu are techniques to shut you up,” he added.

Meanwhile, eminent film actor Anupam Kher who had earlier voiced his opinion in support of the students, on Monday urged the students to stop their protests and return to classes.

“Their parents have spent a lot of money on them. Now, the world is aware of their problem. Chairman has nothing to do with their day-to-day problems. There are millions of ways to stage protests. Now, they are stretching it too far,” Kher told a TV channel.

In the past, film personalities such as Kher, Resul Pookutty, Kiran Rao, Amol Palekar, Rajkummar Rao, Sudhir Mishra, Rishi Kapoor have all voiced their opinion against the appointment of Chauhan as chairman.

Students of the institute have now been protesting for 50 days. Some are even boycotting classes.

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