Rise up Against the Police Crackdown on FTII Protest

Observe All India Protest Day on August 20

 Central Executive Committee of  Students’ Federation of India, SFI condemns in the strongest possible words the police crackdown and the mid night drama at the Film and Television Institute of India, FTII as police raid campus and arrest five students. An FIR is filed on the name of 17 students and 30 others. Five students got arrested and are charged under sections 147 (rioting), 143& 149 (unlawful assembly), 353 (obstructing public servant from discharging duty), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC. 

We all are aware that for the last 69 days, FTII students are on a strike in protest against the appointments to the FTII Society by the fascist Narendra modi led BJP Government. The immediate reason that sparked the struggle in FTII was the appointment of Mr. Gajendra Chauhan, a faithful fellow traveller of Sangh Parivar and an active member of BJP, as the Chairman of Film Society. Though the Government is continuously trying to trivialize the issue by saying that it is an Ornamental post, the reality is far from this. It is the Chairman who should make a dialogue between the Government and I&B Ministry keeping in mind a progressive vision for the Institute.  But Gajendra Chauhan , who’s credential is nothing more than acting a role of Yudistara in Mahabharata T. V serial and in some B Grade films , neither has such a vision on cinema nor he has any visions for the institute. 

Other than Gajendra Chauhan, four other members in the society Anagha Ghasias, Narendra Pathak, Rahul Solarpurkar and Prancha Saikia have the similar qualifications as Gajendra, first and foremost, have strong RSS backgrounds. According to Information accessed by Indian Express through RTI, the original list proposed for FTII council members by the then Director of D J Narain on December 2nd 2014 to I&B Ministry consisted of A .R Rahman, Resul Pookkutti (oscar winner&alumni FTII) , Naseruddin ( actor&alumni FTII) and Javed Akthar. This names got replaced with  the names of  Anagha Ghasias (notorious film maker having a documentery (!) on Modi to her credit), Narendra Pathak (as per the ABVP Maharashtra page, he is still the state President of ABVP Maharashtra/he was the ABVP President when ABVP lumens unleashed an attack on FTII comrades after the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s ‘Ram ke Nam’ in the Campus in 2014 ), Rahul Solarpukar ( an another and BJP activist) and Prancha Saikia (office bearer of RSS linked Sanskar Bharati). FTII which produced many finest talents of Indian cinema was headed in the past by stalwarts like Shyam Benagal, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Girish karnad and so on. The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan is another attempt by Modi Government to bring the major research and cultural institutions of the country under the complete control of Sangh Parivar by filling them with their servile ideological henchmen. 

From our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Education Minister Smriti Irani, have in their credit the great heritage of fake degrees, and not surprisingly, the replications of these genes are spreading everywhere in this country. In this context, we should also aware and beware of the scenarios in our other National Institutions too. 1. Baldev Sharma, former editor of RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya, was appointed as chairman of the National Book Trust in March this year. 2. Lokesh Chandra, the newly appointed Head the Indian Council of Cultural Relation is 87 years old and a Modi bhakt- Modi for him “the incarnation of God”. No wonder, for him, Modi is a greater leader than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.  3. The newly appointed chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research C Y Sudershan Rao, was the Head of the Andhra Pradesh chapter of Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (ABISY), a tributary of RSS. This historian was a professor of History in Telengana University earlier and had praised the ‘c aste system of India’in his writings. Proving the historicity of Ramayana and Mahabharatha are some among his other favourite agendas. More dangerously, he even gets the ‘feel’ of ‘Ramjanma bhoomi’ while walking through the lanes of Ayodhya.  This appointment was enacted after dissolving the advisory council to ICHR including veteran historians like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib.  4. Nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar resigned from IIT Bombay’s governing body in March 2015, following reports of differences with the HRD minister over the selection of directors for IITs at Ropar, Bhubaneswar and Patna. 5. The Indian Institutes of Management Bill introduce by Modi Government is criticized for its crooked intention to curb the autonomy of the institute. The eligibility criteria that the candidates of the IIM director posts should clear the group discussions are curbed shamelessly. 6.  In a canny move to abort the updated National Curricular Framework 2005, initiated by Parvin Sinclair, the Director of NCERT, she was ousted through planned plots.  The main intention behind this was to ouster the last stage of the upadating of the NCF 2005. 7. Pahlaj Nihalani , the newly appointed Chairperson of the Centeral Board Of Film Certification of India, as part of his job proposes an “umbrella system of Censorship” to check “obscenity” and denigration of” Indian Culture”!CBFC has released a list of 28 words which are banned now! Some immediate additions to the lists and the fascist acts are the Government’s attempt to restrict All India Radio as the mouth piece of Government and the show cause notice issued by I&B Ministry to some  TV channels for coverage of Yakub Memon’s hanging. Many of the recent appointments at Prasar Bharti also reveals that affiliation to the Sangh is the only criteria considered for the appointment. 

Instead of meeting the genuine demands of the protesting students of FTII  the government is trying to threaten the democratic voices with disciplinary actions and  police force.  The act of raiding the campus at last mid night and arresting the protesters is once again proving the cowardice of the authorities and the fascist attitude of both state and central government towards any dissent. It is in this context the central executive committee of SFI give a call to observe tomorrow, August 20, as ‘All India Protest Day’. The unites of SFI across the nation will hold protest gatherings and programmes demanding unconditional release of all the arrested students and withdrawal from any police actions against democratically striking students. 

Released By
Dr. V Sivadasan,                                                                                                                                      Ritabrata Banerjee MP,
  President                                                                                                                                                     General Secretary