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FTII row: Students ready for talks tomorrow, clean chit to Director Prashant Pathrabe

Pune/New Delhi: Possibility of a fresh round of talks between the Centre and striking FTII students brightened on Tuesday with the protesters saying they were ready to meet Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials at the
India TV News Desk September 22, 2015 23:42 IST
India TV News Desk

Pune/New Delhi: Possibility of a fresh round of talks between the Centre and striking FTII students brightened on Tuesday with the protesters saying they were ready to meet Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials at the institute's campus tomorrow.

The ministry had asked the students' body to suggest a date for a dialogue with them to call off the strike, which entered the 103rd day, bringing academic activity on the campus to a standstill.

"We received a letter from the Ministry (Information and Broadcasting) asking us to suggest a date for the meeting. They proposed us to call off the strike and have a dialogue," Yashasvi Mishra, a representative of the FTII Students' Association (FSA), said.

The FSA, which has demanded removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan from the institute's chairmanship, in its reply urged the ministry to convene a meeting tomorrow itself considering the hunger strike launched by a few students.

Read Also: FTII strike enters 100th day amid hope given by offer of talks

"We replied to the letter, clearly expressing our serious concerns regarding the students on hunger strike and urged the government to get this meeting organised at the earliest. We have stated that the onus to help us call off the strike by resolving the issues lies with the government. We have urged the ministry to meet us at FTII campus tomorrow (September 23) in the light of the gravity of the hunger strike," the FSA said in a statement.

The students have been boycotting classes since June 12 and continuing their strike after failure of the July 3 first round of talks with the Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi. Apart from Chauhan's removal, they also demand "transparent mechanism" to appoint deserving persons to the FTII governing body.

The strike acquired a political dimension with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visiting the students and supporting the agitation. Several film personalities have also extended their support to the students.

Meanwhile, a committee constituted by the I&B Ministry to look into the affairs of FTII is believed to have given a clean chit to its Director Prashant Pathrabe on the issue of assessment of the 2008 batch saying his actions were valid and in line with Academic Council's decisions taken earlier.

The three-member committee, however, in its report is also learnt to have apprised the ministry that completing the process of assessment of the 2008 batch, would mean declaring the results and issuing students notices to leave the hostel which could create an unpleasant situation.

The I&B ministry had formed the committee headed by Registrar for Newspapers in India (RNI) DG S M Khan, to examine the issue related to the assessment of the 2008 batch.

The team was formed after Pathrabe was gheraoed by students for several hours following which he complained to the police and some of the students were even arrested.
The team had then visited Pune and spoken to several sections associated with the premier film institute and given its report to the ministry.

Sources said that the committee had found that in Academic Council meetings earlier and through subsequent notices, the process of assessment of 2008 batch had been set in motion.

The report has found that Pathrabe was acting as per his duty with regard to the issue of assessment.

(With inputs from PTI)