Mumbai: A group of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) alumni, students of other institutions, film personalities and literary figures gathered at Azad Maidan here on Wednesday demanding immediate intervention to resolve issues raised by Pune's striking FTII students.
Expressing solidarity with the 97-day old FTII Pune strike, Abhilash Awasthi, the father of a striking student raised concerns about the safety and security of FTII students since bouncers have been deployed in the FTII Pune campus, which he alleged, is to "bully" striking FTII students.
"If physical violence is used to suppress students' voices, then we will not sit quietly," Awasthi said.
Representing academics, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Professor Nandini Manjrekar said, "The government cannot absolve its responsibility to resolve issues raised by dissenting students. The way the government has systematically marginalised democracy in educational institutions is deplorable and cannot be ignored".
Noted film personality Rajat Kapoor outlined the central government's "apathy" and said, "Nobody is willing to resolve issues raised by the 97-day strike by FTII Pune students who represent the artistic and cinematic cultural heritage of the country."
"In fact, they have been forced to take this extreme step due to the central government's apathy to their three-month long struggle," Kapoor said.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Prakash Reddy said that his party supports the FTII strike, even as a group of students presented a musical performance at Azad Maidan to support the cause of striking FTII students.
"We have cultural means to protest. Today's protest is in sync with our culture. This is the sixth protest in which students from J J College of Art and St Xavier's College, the New Delhi-based National School of Drama, the Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Design (NID) came forward to support our cause," Malyaz, a striking FTII student, said.