FTII administration seeks police protection after vandalising incident

Pune: The FTII administration here has sought police "protection" for the campus following an incident in which a symbolic protest installation put up by the agitating students was vandalised outside the main gate. 

Prashant Pathrabe, the newly appointed director of Film and Television Institute of India that is hit by a strike by students demanding removal of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman, today said a symbolic formation of a big "question mark" installed by the students in front of the gate was found vandalised on Sunday night.

"I spoke to police authorities about the incident and they agreed to provide protection as and when required," he told PTI today. 

No police complaint has been filed about the incident. 

Pathrabe, currently director of Press Information Bureau (PIB) Pune division, took additional charge as director of FTII last week after expiry of the term of his predecessor D J Narain.

Asked about his initiative to end the deadlock at the premiere institute where academic activity has come to a standstill since the strike commenced on June 12, the director said, "I have advised the students to be flexible on their main demand (reconstitution of the FTII Society and removal of the chairman) to facilitate a possible dialogue with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Withdrawal of the strike will help in this process."

Meanwhile, right wing group Patit-Pawan Sanghatana (PPS) yesterday staged a demonstration in front of the FTII main gate, raising slogans supporting Chauhan and calling the agitating students "Naxalites". However, several Bollywood celebrities have backed the students's emand to the government for revoking the appointment of Chauhan.

National Award winning director Aparna Sen and other Bengali filmmakers yesterday supported the students, saying the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as FTTI Chairman could be seen as attempts at "saffronising" the institution.

Sen said the chairman should be someone who could inspire students and they would be able to look up to him with respect. 

The institute has served an ultimatum on the striking students to return to academic work or face the risk of rustication from the institute.

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