SC Refuses to Interfere in FTII Standoff: Students Threaten to go on Hunger Strike

Apex court dismisses PIL seeking intervention; students threaten hunger strike en masse

Published: 08th September 2015 04:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2015 04:37 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a PIL seeking its intervention to end the ongoing stir at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) opposing the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman.

A bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy refused to hear the petition.

With no end to the impasse in sight, FTII students, meanwhile, have threatened to go on a hunger strike en masse. 

The court was hearing a PIL, filed by Supreme Court lawyer Vineet Dhanda, alleging that the Centre was not taking effective steps to bring back normalcy in the FTII at Pune, which has been witnessing the students’ agitation for almost three months now.

“The more disturbing part besides the strike, started by students almost 82 days ago, is the dragging of students into politics by various political parties, thereby complicating the simple issue into an unsolvable problem at present,” the petition said.

The petitioner wanted the top court to direct the Maharashtra government to provide security to the students who wanted to attend the classes.

“The present situation has worsened to an extent that there have been various incidents of violence on the premises and students have been arrested,” the plea said.

“It is the duty of the Centre and the Information and Broadcasting ministry to end the strike so that the tension in Pune comes to end and the careers of FTII students are not affected,” it said.

During the hearing, Dhanda said it was unfortunate that the students had to go on strike for the appointment of a Chairman who has very little role in the educational aspect of FTII.

Late last month, the government sent a three-member delegation headed by S M Khan, Press Registrar which held talks with various stakeholders including the protesting students to end the stir, but it too has failed.

FTII Students’ Association (FSA) representative Vikas Urs told a press conference on Monday, “The students will be sitting on an indefinite hunger strike if our demands are not met by the government which has put us in this situation. There is no option left.”

The FSA, however, did not set any date to start the strike.

Meanwhile, the fast undertaken by a faculty member, Abhijit Das, of the Art Direction department of the institute seeking “immediate resolution” of the crisis entered its third day on Monday. Urs accused FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe of not “doing anything to resolve the crisis” and adapting “a manipulative mechanism” to malign the students. Pathrabe on Monday met Das and requested him to give up his fast. 

(With PTI inputs)

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