NEW DELHI — Launching a scathing attack on the Modi government over the lingering strike in FTII, Rahul Gandhi today alleged educational institutions were being "captured" by the RSS and only those "singing praises" of the Prime Minister and BJP are being "placed on top".
Gandhi, who led a Congress delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee to protest the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of FTII, said creativity was being "crushed" by the desire of the RSS to "control" the education system.
"The people who are placed on top of them (the students) do not have the merit to be placed on top. The only merit they have is that they have sung praises of the Prime Minister, the BJP and believe in the ideology of the RSS," the Congress vice president told reporters.
Holding that Chauhan lacks merit to govern the institute, Gandhi said the message the government was trying to convey was that "leave behind your capability and merit and pay your obeisance to Modiji and RSS and come to this institution. This is a wrong message to the students", he said.
Rahul who had earlier visited Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) campus in Pune to express solidarity with the students who want Chauhan removed, said the delegation articulated the fact that India's soft power as reflected in institutions like FTII is being crushed by RSS which wants to control the country's education system.
"They have already destroyed the education system in Madhya Pradesh with the Vyapam scam. We are not going to allow them to destroy these institutions," he said. "The capturing of educational institutions by the RSS is a political issue. I am not politicising it. The BJP is politicising it.
"Every institution that has been developed over the last 50-60 years on merit is being destroyed. This is a political issue not a social issue," the Congress Vice President said. Gandhi was accompanied to Rashtrapati Bhawan by Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar, Manish Tewari, Kumari Selja, Raj Babbar among others.
"We briefed the president on the FTII matter and I want to send the message mainly to the students of this country and in particular to the boys and girls of FTII that what they are fighting for is a very very important thing," he said.
Students' agitation at FTII is going on for over two months after government announced the appointment of Chauhan as head of its governing council. The students have been boycotting classes since June 12, demanding Chauhan's removal, maintaining that he lacks "academic credentials, vision and stature" to head the premier institute.
While the students have been able to garner support from many Bollywood bigwigs, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has refused to withdraw Chauhan's appointment, asking the agitators to return to academic activity or face action including rustication.