FTII row: Standoff continues, students to meet MoS next week

The fourth round of talks between the agitating FTII students and Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials to resolve the standoff over appointment of of actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the institute failed to break the 120 days logjam on Saturday though both the sides agreed to take the dialogue to the ministerial level.

The students will now be meeting Minister of State for I and B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore next week. A statement issued after the talks said a meeting will now be convened between FTII student representatives and Rathore in the near future.

The students said the meeting is likely to take place on October 13 or 14 in New Delhi. "We discussed with officials at length our core issues such as dissolution of the governing council and removal of Chauhan as chairman of the FTII Society (larger body comprising governing and academic councils) and next time when we meet with the MoS, we would discuss these contentious appointments," students' spokesperson Vikas Urs said. "We also proposed that the I&B Secretary work as the acting chairman of the Society till the impasse is over. We would put across this proposal before the MoS," said Urs.

The meeting lasted one-and-half-hour and was presided by I&B Ministry Secretary Sunil Arora. Joint Secretary K Sanjay Murthy, FTII director Prashant Patharbe and seven students attended the meeting. After meeting Arora, the students also had a session with Director General of Films Division Mukesh Sharma who is heading the committee to look into the infrastructural improvement of the institute.

"In the October 7 meeting, Secretary I&B had set up the Mukesh Sharma Committee to look into the issues of operational flexibility and procurement of equipment for FTII. The Committee also held discussions with student leaders in Mumbai on Saturday to discuss the issues," the Ministry said in the statement.

Three rounds of talks held so far -- the last one being on October 7 -- have failed to bring an end to the agitation with the students sticking to the demand for removal of Chauhan as chairman of the institute.

The agitation has received support from several leading film personalities, including the institute's alumni.

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