Pune court grants bail to five arrested FTII students

A Pune court on Wednesday granted bail to five FTII students, who were arrested by the police in a midnight swoop on Tuesday

Pune: A Pune court on Wednesday granted bail to all the five students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), arrested for "gherao" and alleged illegal confinement of director Prashant Pathrabe on Monday evening.

Magistrate Narendra Joshi rejected the prosecution's plea for police custody of the students, granting bail in the sum of Rs 3,000 to each of them. 

 Five FTII students arrested after Tuesday midnight being taken to the court by the police in Pune on Wednesday
Five FTII students arrested after Tuesday midnight being taken to the court by the police in Pune on Wednesday. PTI

Defence lawyers Shrikant Shivade and Aseem Sarode refuted the prosecution's charge that the students had indulged in violent behaviour during the sit-in "gherao" of the director. The purpose was only to discuss the assessment issues of the 2008 batch, and the students were not "thugs", the defence lawyers said.

The students, who are on strike for the last 69 days against appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute's chairman, gheraoed Pathrabe on Monday evening, challenging his decision to go ahead with the assessment of the incomplete diploma film projects of the 2008 batch.

In a midnight swoop, police arrested the five students charging them with rioting and other offences in connection with the gherao of Pathrabe.

The students, numbering more than two dozen, were protesting against what they alleged was "irrational and unjustified" pro-rata course project assessment of the 2008 batch.

"The students shouted slogans in his office, physically prevented him and other staffers from leaving the office, snapped communication lines and damaged office computers. They demanded that he should immediately cancel the project assessment or they would not release them," an official said on Wednesday.

FTII students during one of their recent protests. File pic

The students also formed a human chain to stop Pathrabe from stepping out, threw rapid fire questions at him repeatedly, shouted slogans like "PM Narendra Modi & Arun Jaitley murdabad" and caused mental torture to the officials.

Following the incident, Pathrabe lodged a complaint with Deccan Police Station late Tuesday.

The police swung into action by registering a FIR against 15 students and sent teams to the campus at around 12.45 a.m.

In the action, at least five were picked up and arrested on various charges, including rioting under the Indian Penal Code, and other non-bailable offences, around 2 a.m., the police official said.

Police teams are on the lookout for the others, including at least three women, who they believe maybe hiding in or around the FTII campus. 

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