Nagpur: The raging discord over appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) reverberated fiercely in Nagpur City with speakers at a meeting terming the appointment as conspiracy by the ruling party and strongly supporting the striking students.
“The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman of FTII is the direct result of a conspiracy hatched by BJP-led Central Government. The NDA Government at the Centre is hell bent of destroying the democratic structure of the country. In our democratic set up the Film and Television Institute of India plays an important role. Therefore, the present Central Government is conspiring to weaken the FTII and the democratic structure by appointing such person as Chairman of the Institute. The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan is, in fact, a puppetry appointment through which the first minds of students would be vitiated by saffron course of study and then through students the saffron thinking of RSS would be spread all over the country.”
These and other thoughts of similar line were expressed by the speakers at a meeting of sensible and alert citizens organized at North Ambazari Road-based Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti premises. The meeting was called in support of striking FTII students and was presided by city’s reputed poet and professor Dr Vasant Tripathi. The concept was forwarded by famous actor V R Sathidar who also conducted the programme. The meeting was organized by reputed painter and sculptor Gopal Naidu.
Dr Vasant Tripathi, in his presidential speech said that apart from Gajendra Chauhan the BJP had several other candidates whose contribution in Indian film and television world is immense. For example, Anupam Kher, Kiron Kher or Paresh Rawal. However, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry did not appoint any one of them. The reason is that the Ministry wanted a puppet to run the institution and thrust their thinking on the institution, lambasted Dr Tripathi.
Expressing his thoughts, Gopal Naidu said that bad days are coming for the Indian democracy with the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chief. The FTII has historical importance in Indian film production and art world. The institute which was once headed by doyen of Indian films such as Ritvik Ghatak is now headed by a puppet, said Naidu.
Reputed lawyer and social worker Adv Prakash Meghe said that the striking students are unnecessarily harassed. They are being jailed for speaking truth and protesting the appointment.
More than half a dozen citizens among hundreds present also expressed their views with majority criticizing appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Chairman.
The largely attended meeting also passed four resolutions unanimously in support of striking FTII students. The resolutions are as follows:
1) The five students who were arrested on August 18, 2015 on the baseless charges should be released immediately and the charges withdrawn.
2) The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan should be immediately scrapped and a personality of repute whose contribution in film and television world is of unparalleled nature should be at the helm.
3) The process of appointing Chairman of FTII should be made transparent. Even though there is provision for appointment of Chairman through Executive Council in FTII but this process is not transparent.
4) FTII is an autonomous institution. Therefore, there should not be any interference in its affairs on the part of Government.