NEW DELHI: Voices of protests raised by a group of FTII students here today against appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute's Chairman, found an echo among a section of the youth of the national capital.
Students from colleges and institutions across the national capital came together, in solidarity, as they performed a medley of songs of resistance, did plays and rent the air with vociferous slogans against the BJP government.
Intensifying their stir, over 80 students of the prestigious Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) held a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar, taking the protest to the national capital.
However, the support of Congress' students wing NSUI, put many FTII protesters at unease. A number of them were trying to "distance" themselves from officially accepting their backing.
Later they marched towards the Parliament wielding colourful graffiti and posters and placards bearing messages such as 'Go Back Chauhan', 'John, Ghatak, Tarkovsky, We shall fight, We shall win', before being stopped by a large posse of police personnel.
"This fight is not against any individual but against an ideology. The long-term goal would be stop the saffronisation process. They are fighting for the long-term goal. The urgency is to fight against the saffronisation," Inakshi Walia, a student of Delhi School of Social Work said.
A FTII student sounded his exasperation with the "silence" of the government, saying, resuming classes would "not be a wise step" to do as they needed a long-term solution.
"After meeting (Arun) Jaitley in July we have drafted five letters officially but they have not responded to any of them and instead made allegations of substance abuse and branded us Naxals," Ritvic Goswami, a second year student at the institute said.
Congress, which has been backing the demands of the students, sent its Rajya Sabha MP Raj Babbar as its emissary to the Jantar Mantar while JD(U) MP K C Tyagi trooped in with a joint statement, announcing the support of Congress' Rajeev Shukla, CPI(M)'s Mohammed Salim, CPI's D Raja and NCP's D P Tripathi.
"The students have not come here to fight. They are here to make their voice heard to the government which is pretending not to hear anything. The students have made us proud by spurning all backdoor offers," Babbar said addressing the protesters.
Noted documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak, who was present during the protests, said the government was "miscalculating" the level of outrage.
"The government is miscalculating the level of outrage at what is being done to all cultural institutions. The more they stretch it out the broader goal is being achieved," he said.