PUNE — Tension prevailed at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) late last night after police stormed the premises to control a group of students who had allegedly held director Prashant Pathrabe 'hostage'.
The Indian Express reported that around 3 pm about 50 students entered Pathrabe’s cabin and demanded to know why he had “banned mediapersons from entering the campus and ordered the faculty to go ahead with the assessment of incomplete diploma films of 2008 batch” despite the students and faculty members disapproving of it.
The discussion took an ugly turn when the angry students complaining about how Pathrabe had failed to address their concerns and gheraod him in his office. The students refused to leave unless the director gave a "rational" explanation for the ongoing assessment by the faculty of the incomplete films, PTI reported.
Pathrabe told PTI that he had been gheraoed by the students, but was "safe".
A students' representative said they had "stopped" the director in his office since he had "decided to go on with unfair assessment of the incomplete film projects".
The FTII Students' Association (FSA) has alleged that the assessment was politically motivated and aimed at getting rid of about 50 inmates belonging to the 2008 batch on the ground of "overstaying" due to incomplete projects.
The students also demanded that Pathrabe call up officials in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and convey to them their concerns, according to the IE report. The director asked the striking students to contact the officials themselves. The students, according to a communication from the association, tried to contact I&B ministry's joint secretary to seek his intervention but received no response. Pathrabe has maintained that he was following the ministry's dictates in going ahead with the assessment.
Police were called by the Film and Television Institute of India registrar at around 11 pm as the students refused to end the gherao. It was not yet clear as to what action police had taken and whether the gherao had ended.
The strike by FTII students against the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of FTII society entered 69th day today. The registrar later said that the gherao has been ended.