Ministry asks FTII students to call off strike before dialogue


By NewsGram Staff Writer

Pune: Aiming to resolve the ongoing impasse, the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B), through a letter to the agitating students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), has reiterated them to withdraw their strike if they want to sit for talks.


A source revealed that the letter sent this time used stern words. “The letter, which has been signed by joint secretary (films) K Sanjay Murthy, blamed the students for the ongoing agitation and alleged that the issue remained resolved because of the students,” he said.

A ministry source confirmed that the letter was written to the students on Thursday evening and that it firmly states the stand that talks can happen only if the students end the strike. On Tuesday, the students had written to Murthy, urging him to organize a meeting at the earliest in the FTII campus. They had suggested September 23 as the date for the dialogue.

The ministry had said “it is desirable if students resume the academic activities” before the meeting. Last week, Murthy had made a fresh offer to talk to students but “without any preconditions”, to which the students had given a positive response saying they too “do not want any preconditions from the ministry’s side”.

FTII students denied any statement on the recent letter. “We are discussing what steps can be taken from our side now,” said Vikas Urs, a representative of the FTII students’ association. The students have been on strike against the “political appointments” on the FTII Society for the last 106 days. Seven students have been taken to the hospital since the students sat on an indefinite fast on a replacement basis from September 12. Himanshu Shekhar, a 2012-batch student of acting, has been on a fast for 15 days now.

(With inputs from TOI)