PUNE: In a midnight swoop, police arrested five students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) here, charging them with rioting and other offences in connection with the gherao of director Prashant Pathrabe.
The students on strike for the last 69 days against appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute chairman, had gheraoed Pathrabe on Monday evening, challenging his decision to go ahead with the assessment of the incomplete diploma film projects of the 2008 batch. The director had remained confined in his office cabin for over six hours.
Those arrested included the FTII Students' Association (FSA) representative Vikas Urs.
"FIRs have been filed against 15 students out of which five have been arrested," DCP T Tushar Doshi told PTI.
The accused students have been charged under various sections of IPC including 143, 147, 149, 323, 353, 506 etc. dealing with offences some of them non-bailable related to unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation and rioting.
The FIR filed on a complaint by Pathrabe stated that the accused obstructed and wrongfully restrained him after office hours and mentally harassed him questioning about the assessment work.
The students are also charged with vandalising the director's office and damaging glass panes, computer and table.
The students have termed Pathrabe's decision to conduct the assessment of incomplete film projects as "unjust, unfair and unjustified" without approval of the academic council of FTII and aimed at weakening the current protest.
The Information and Broadcasting ministry has refused to hold further dialogue with the agitating students after failure of the July 3 talks in Delhi where the demand for removal of Chauhan was cold-shouldered by the officials, asking them to return to classes being boycotted since June.