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FTII talks today, but Gajendra Chauhan's ouster unlikely

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 29 September 2015, 10:24 IST

The agitating students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) are going to meet officials of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry here on Tuesday to discuss future course of action.

The students on Sunday had called off their 18-day-long hunger strike in response to the government's communication inviting them for a dialogue to resolve their demands.

The students are protesting against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII Chairman. Ranjit Nair of FTII Students' Association (FSA) said that the 'hunger strike' has been being called off to facilitate talks with the government, following which the Information and Broadcasting Ministry Joint Secretary replied and a meeting was fixed in Mumbai.

Nair, however, clarified that although the hunger strike has been withdrawn, but the general strike that started on June 12 with a boycott of classes will continue till the issues raised by them are resolved during the proposed talks.

The ministry agreed to hold Tuesday's meeting at Films Division in Mumbai after students insisted that the venue would be Pune or Mumbai and not New Delhi.

The proposed meeting was made possible by film makers Raj Kumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who arbitrated with the government and the students.

Having been able to bring the protesting FTII students back to the negoting table, the government's is hoping that the latest round of talks will see an end to the impasse that has continued for over 100 days now.

However, it is highly unlikely that the principal demand of the students i.e ouster of FTII President Gajendra Chauhan would be something the government will agree to. Many in the government believe that withdrawing Chauhan's appointment will be a major embarrassment.Even as the stage is set for talks today, both the protesting students and the government have sent out confrontational messages to each other.

Students held a press conference in the national capital on Monday, just a day ahead of the meeting. The students claimed that that several leading academicians and professionals from Silicon Valley had expressed solidarity with them.

Also read: US academicians led by Noam Chomsky enter the FTII row, question Gajendra Chauhan's credentials

The government on its part, registered its protests with the way the students held a press conference just ahead of the scheduled talks.

In a letter to the students, Joint Secretary (Films), who is also heading the talks with the students said: "If some office bearers of FTII Students Association (FSA) have engaged in this kind of sideshow and that too on the eve of our scheduled dialogue, intimation of which was given by email and phone on 27.09.2015, it is not exactly the best way for creating a conducive atmosphere for a dialogue."

He further added: "The negotiations over ay deadlock/impasse require a certain commonality of resolve and ecosystem of trust and faith. Histrionics, even of the most advanced aesthetic vintage, are not exactly the best recipe to find solution. "

However, he said the government will go ahead with its decision to hold the talks with students.

(With inputs from ANI)

First published: 29 September 2015, 10:26 IST