16/06/2015 6:27 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

FTII Row: Gajendra Chauhan Says Protests Politically Motivated, Ministry Willing To Discuss

FTII Wisdom Tree/Facebook

PUNE — As students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, sit around their lush green campus, they all have worried and angry looks on their faces. As of Tuesday, The stalemate over the appointment of TV actor and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of FTII's governing council had entered its fifth day, and the students are still firm on their stand.

Nearly 150 FTII students boycotted classes and continued their protest on the campus raising slogans against Chauhan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and put up posters all over the walls and buildings in the premises.

"We are yet to hear anything from the government's side on the issue so far. The protest will continue till our demands are met," FTII students' association representative Rakesh Shukla told PTI.

Harishankar Nachimuthu, president of the FTII students association said in a statement, "Chauhan has no significant contribution/work to even qualify as a footnote or a passing reference in the history of Indian cinema and television."

DJ Narain, director of the FTII told HuffPost India, "The ministry is open to discussing all relevant issues with the students. But they must restore all academic activities and start attending the classes."

Chauhan, best known for his portrayal of Yudhisthira in the erstwhile Doordarshan TV series 'Mahabharat', had on Monday alleged that the protests were "politically motivated" and whipped up by someone for "personal interest".

"There is a conspiracy. The students should not get influenced by politics. Until I get any order from government suggesting otherwise, I will not take the backseat. I want to work for the FTII and want to bring improvements to it," Chauhan told ANI.

Earlier, the students had also said that their Facebook page titled Wisdom Tree had been blocked.

Our voice WISDOM TREE is BLOCKED!!!We expressed through our Facebook profile and Twitter handle @FTIIWisdomTree to...

Posted by FTII Wisdom Tree on Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ex-students, present students and supporters in Delhi, supporting the FTII students' strike. What beauty in solidarity! Thanks guys :)#FTIIprotests #NoColor #SupportFTII

Posted by FTII Wisdom Tree on Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Meanwhile, the students' body has claimed support of more filmmakers and artistes, including Govind Nihalani, Rakesh Sharma, Subhash Ghai, Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt, among others. A few notable members of FTII's alumni including filmmakers such as Jahnu Barua, Sriram Raghavan, Anand Patwardhan among others, have also backed the students.

(With inputs from agencies)

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