Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, on Wednesday expressed his shock on the midnight police crackdown on protesting FTII students.
Police arrested five students over night from the campus.
Kejriwal said, “Am shocked to hear what’s going on at FTII. An internationally reputed institute being systematically destroyed by govt’s wrong decisions.”
Kejriwal said that the students were welcome to come to Delhi and run their classes from here in the interim. But Delhi government could consider offering them a permanent space if central didn’t agree to their demands.
The Delhi CM tweets said, “My offer to FTII students- Delhi government can provide you temporary space in Delhi. Run your classes here till central government agrees. If finally, central government doesn’t agree, we’ll convert this place into full-fledged institute and students can continue studying here only.”
Police arrested five students in a midnight crackdown after the FTII’s director, Prashant Pathrabe lodged a complaint against them for detaining him on campus on Monday.
Sandip Chatterjee, faculty member and acting dean of FTII described these arrests unacceptable. He said, “This is unacceptable. The students are our responsibility. I am surprised no one from the administration is here. The action is not justified at all.”
A student asked, “We are surprised at the government’s insensitivity. Look at the timing. Why should students be arrested in the middle of the night?”
The students will be produced in court today.
FTII students have been protesting against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s head. Chauhan, who students say was a mediocre TV and film actor of yesteryear, is believed to get the preference for this post because of his leanings towards RSS. FTII is India’s most prestigious film institute and the students argue that the mediocrity shown by Chauhan’s appointment will have adverse impact on the institute’s ability to produce talents in future.
But the latest escalation is related a development on Monday, when students refused to let the director go out of his cabin for nearly seven hours till their concerns were addressed. The director and registrar then called in the police at 10 pm.
Students and faculty have objected to the manner the final projects of 2008 batch students were being assessed. The students say that only 50 percent of the students have been able to complete their projects and the faculty had advised the director to put the assessment on hold until the students ended their strike.