Protest Rocks FTII on Gajendra’s Visit

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Pune: Massive protest greets Gajendra Chauhan on his first visit to the prestigious institute of FTII  since his selection as Chairman of the institute.

Protesters tried to block Gajendra’s entry forcing the police to lathi charge in order to control the situation. cops detained 40 students who were part of the protest rally.

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The controversy around  that appointment, made by the government in June last year, remains seething – at least 20  students were hit by batons or lathis as they protested today ahead of Mr Chauhan’s arrival, some of them were detained by the police.  “Go back, go back” chanted some as Mr Chauhan entered the school, where he will spend the day holding meetings with officials.

The 55-year-old film school in Pune prides itself on quality cinema and has turned out some top film-makers. It is governed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Critics, including some students,  see the selection of  Mr Chauhan, an actor known for little apart from his role in  the 1980s TV serial on the Mahabharata, as a political appointment to an academic institution -an allegation denounced by the government. Mr Chauhan, who campaigned for the BJP ahead of the national election and has been a party member since 2004,  has said his political views  will not influence his policy or decisions for the film institute.

For months after he was selected as chair, students on campus went on strike to demand his removal.  Their critics pointed out that many of the protesting students had bust deadlines to submit their final projects and graduate, and were staying on a campus that provides highly-subsidised hostel facilities.

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