After the last night drama between the students and FTII director, today the director took a press conference to put his side in front of the media. Prashant Pathrabe, the Director of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) said that he was kept in illegal confinement by the students for 8-10 hours on Monday night. About 40-50 people came in when 6 of them had been asked to come to talk with the director. Today is the 69th day of the strike.
“After the discussion on the agenda of ‘assessment’ when I told them my decision they said we will not allow you to go. Initially I refused to call the police but even after 3-4 hours when they didn’t give in I had to call police. They formed chains to forcefully block me. They tortured me by different interrogation techniques, verbal assault including asking the same question and continuously threatened me to take the decision back. They also indulged in disrespectful and insulting behavior (including saying if cannot answer their questions or take back the decision I was inefficient or incapable) which I have mentioned to the police. When the police came in there was a scuffle that ensued and they broke the furniture, telephones, wires, computers in the office climbing on top of the table. After 8 -9 hours of torture I was forced by students to answer questions at 11 pm in the night when the same questions had been asked 6-8 times. They were enraged as they couldn’t break me. I wonder by what yardstick you can call such people students”, added Pathrabe.
He question, Whose freedom? Is it not my freedom? They wanted to enact a drama in front of the police and media and it was all pre-planned to show the director in poor light. All this violence while keeping a facade of peaceful agitation for the outside world.
Patharabe said, “ In view of the above I had to take the unfortunate step of filing an FIR with the police yesterday night. I had no choice but to take this step as tolerating this kind of lawless behavior would have emboldened them to do anything further and there should be a deterrent. I am still in a state of mental shock and it will take me a couple of days to come back to normal. The police told me that they will take the due course of action.”
Also a team of officials from the Information and Broadcasting ministry will visit Pune to assess the situation at the restive campus. The decision to form a ministry team comes a day after five students were arrested on charges of rioting based on a complaint filed by Pathrabe.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has offered to provide a temporary space to the agitating students to hold their classes in the national capital, according to reports. The Delhi government is even ready to convert the temporary arrangement into a full-fledged institute, Kejriwal said.
Acting on a complaint filed by Pathrabe, police lodged an FIR against 15 students. Of them, five were arrested on charges of rioting under Section 353 of the IPC, police said.
Where as students said that “ they were happy that a team of members is going to come to handle the problem and study it but before that these arrests came up so we are confused again on if the authorities are really with us or not.”
On this the teachers association said that they condemn the way the students have being arrested in the night when no administrative members.
2008 Assessment reasons
The Academic Council in its decision on 27th April 2014 had decided that “as is where is” or “pro data assessment” of 2008 batch pending projects should be done if projects are not completed in time. From time to time the students were given more time to complete them but they failed to complete them.
There was an audit objection and they observed that despite the two zero years and extension of the course and projects the students did not complete projects in time. And the extension has not helped reduce the backlog. Action had to be initiated on this and it was decided to start from the oldest batch in the campus with 49 strength. Faculty had agreed with the decision and the Dean Films said we should go ahead with the assessment but also suggested that after the assessment they should be given an opportunity to complete their projects.
And we agreed to it. This decision was also minuted. Next day faculty expressed reservations on the timing. The following day I told my decision and said we should go ahead. What criteria to use for the assessment was broadly left to the faculty. I and the faculty have tried to be completely fair to the students in this process.
Despite provocation I have patiently listened to them for hours on Monday as well as last Friday. Every action of the Institute cannot be based on students sanction.The assessment decision continues to be on hold till further notice.