FTII: Dissent Grows Against Saffronisation of the Institution
The I&B Minister, Arun Jaitley, refused to accept the demands of the delegation consisting of students and alumni of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) and reconsider the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the Governing Council or re-look at the composition of the Governing Council. Chauhan and some of the others inducted in the Governing Council are known associates of the BJP and this seems to be the only basis of their appointment. The Minister made clear that there will be no rethink on these appointments, though assured the delegation that the government had no intention of "interfering in the working of the institute."
Prateek , a member of the delegation, pointed out the current move to pack the governing council is a part of the already continuous government interference in the running of the institute and has to be seen in the larger context of privatising the institution. The attempt to appoint person with certain ideological views is only one part of the story. The other part is the larger agenda of making education into a profit-making entity. This government is following a set mode of functioning in educational institutions, where contractual appointments are being made to cut down not only expenditure but also stifle voices of dissent. A teacher in FTII, who was part of the delegation, also spoke about how the developments at Delhi University of cutting down the budget, contractual appointments and crackdown on voices of dissent are similar to what is happening at FTII.
A number of people had gathered in a sit-in outside the I&B Ministry to their express solidarity with the FTII delegation. Noted filmmakers such as Sanjay Kak, Rahul Roy, Members Delhi University Teachers association, led by President Nandita Narain, members of Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, theatre group Jan Natya Manch and students from various organisations such as AISA, DSF, KYS, SFI, etc, participated in the peaceful sit-in. Despite having permission for the sit-in, the police manhandled various activists, who later were detained in the Parliament Police Station.
The protests continued inside the jail premises, with various songs, slogans and theatre performances. The protestors expressed their solidarity with the FTII students and vowed to continue the struggle against the attempts of saffronisation and privatization of educational institutions.
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