Saturday October 19, 2019

Don’t impose will on FTII students, Rahul Gandhi tells centre

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Pune (Maharashtra): Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday urged the central government “not to impose its will” on students of FTII amid protests by BJP activists here. Rahul_Gandhi_360x270_rg

Protesting against Gandhi’s trip to FTII, BJP activists carrying saffron and black flags marched in a vociferous procession, raising slogans and accused him of politicizing the issue.

However, Gandhi continued to support to the striking Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students opposing the appointment of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman. He said their demand was “justified” and the government “must talk” to the student community.

“If they talk, it will only increase the government’s stature… the students are here only to study. But, now their academics are getting affected… I feel the government must have a dialogue with them,” Gandhi, attired in a dark t-shirt and blue jeans, urged while addressing the media after his interaction with the students.

He added that the students feel the government is attempting “to impose its will” on the student community which can be be resolved through talks, and questioned why the government was feeling insecure by the (students’) protests.

Gandhi decried attempts by certain elements to pin anti-national and anti-Hindu labels on the 200-plus students who have been agitating since the past 50 days over the issue, and demanded to know why “they want only one idea”.

On whether he would raise the issue in parliament, Gandhi assured that he would support them in all possible manner whenever required, and lauded the students saying he was proud of them.

“The real question is — how strongly are you willing to fight this issue? I am ready to fight with you,” he assured.

Over 200 students of FTII have been agitating against the appointment of Chauhan as the institute’s chairman. They have boycotted classes and have been threatened with disciplinary action.

Some students had written a letter to Gandhi and sought his intervention in the issue, besides raising it in parliament.

They pointed out how after Gandhi recently took up the cause of students at the IIT Madras, which had banned their Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, the restriction was revoked last month.

Earlier, prominent former students, including actors and top Bollywood personalities have supported the students agitation against Chauhan’s appointment.

FTII is a premier institute for film-related studies, and has produced noted alumni like like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Jahnu Barua, Shabana Azmi, Santosh Sivan and Naseeruddin Shah.

(IANS)

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Facebook, Google, Twitter Executives Set to Testify Before Congress: Report

Facebook''s Head of Global Policy, Monika Bickert; Nick Pickles, the Public Policy Director at Twitter; and Google''s Global Director of Information, Derek Slater, have been listed as witnesses

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Amid a recent surge in mass shootings and proliferation of extremist content on social media, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has summoned executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter next week for a hearing on mass violence and extremism.

The hearing titled, “Mass Violence, Extremism, and Digital Responsibility,” will be convened on September 18. The committee has announced the lists of witnesses on Wednesday.

This hearing will examine the proliferation of extremism online and explore the effectiveness of industry efforts to remove violent content from online platforms, the panel said in the announcement.

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“Witnesses will discuss how technology companies are working with law enforcement when violent or threatening content is identified and the processes for removal of such content,” the panel said.

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Facebook’s Head of Global Policy, Monika Bickert; Nick Pickles, the Public Policy Director at Twitter; and Google’s Global Director of Information, Derek Slater, have been listed as witnesses. (IANS)