Striking Film and Television Institute of India students called for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in resolving the 71-day-old crisis in the premier institute over the appointment of TV actor and Bharatiya Janata Party member Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman.
"The prime minister should visit FTII to resolve the issues. All students in the country are feeling threatened by the government's insensitivity towards the problems being faced by them. The students should strike hard and strong if this continues," representative of the FTII Students' Association Vikas Urs told reporters in Pune.
Five students, including Urs, were arrested on charges of rioting after the institute's director Prashant Pathrabe was confined to his chamber, following which the government formed a team of senior information & broadcasting department officials to resolve the impasse. The students were released on bail by a Pune court on Wednesday.
A striking student said, "We are very curious to see with what agenda they (the officials) are coming with. We are clueless. The students' body has not been told that the delegation is coming...We are hearing everything from the media. We are still expecting a good dialogue."
Another student said, "We are open to talks. From day one, we have been ready for a dialogue and finally the ministry has understood that we should sit across the table and discuss the core issues...I hope the officials come with an open mind and we are hoping a productive dialogue."
Patharbe has said he was "tortured, threatened, physically pushed around and subjected to disrespectful and insulting behaviour" by about 40-odd students.
The students were reportedly agitated over Pathrabe's decision to go ahead with the assessment of the incomplete diploma film projects of the 2008 batch.
Academic activity in FTII came to a grinding halt after students went on a flash strike on June 12 against Chauhan's appointment boycotting classes.
Image: FTII students have been on a strike for over 70 days