Mumbai: Agitating FTII students, who were protesting against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute's chairman, on Wednesday called off their 139-day-old strike.
Addressing a press conference, FTII student leader Rakesh Shukla confirmed that the strike has been called off, but they would continue to protest in a democratic and peaceful manner.
Shukla maintained that fascist forces are getting stronger in the Indian society.
Expressing disappointment over Centre's attitude, Ranjit Nair, spokesperson for the Students Association said, "We have come to realise, after our long-stretched negotiations with the government, that the government is a bully."
FTII Students Association (FSA) representative Vikas Urs said the students have taken a collective decision to go back to academics with "immediate effect" in the best interest of the fraternity.
Referring to FSA's talks with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which could not end the stalemate, Urs said the ministry conveyed the impression that it had no mandate to take a decision in the matter.
"Now, it goes beyond the five appointments (of Chauhan and four FTII society members) which we had questioned. The right wing attitude is exposed and we know who is running the country," he said, apparently targeting BJP's ideological mentor RSS.
He said, "Although the FSA has decided to call off the strike, the students will not have any proactive engagement with the ministry until the appointments issue is resolved."
Urs said the students will now "expand and take their battle forward" after having been successful in making the common man understand the concerns raised by them.
Chauhan congratulated the students for ending the strike, and told IANS over telephone that it was time for them to return to their classes.
The decision to end the strike followed the government's "incongruous approach" towards the students' cause, said another student leader, Reema Kaur.
"The 139 days of strike have not only made us stronger but more aware of the state that we today live in," said Kaur, a final year student of editing and a part of the core committee of the Students Association that spearheaded the strike.
The agitating FTII students called off their strike after several round of talks with Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and other officials in the recent times.
After the last meeting, the agitating students had said they will decide their future course of action on the basis of "collective wisdom and also an acknowledgment of the sacrifices" they have already made.
The students have been protesting against the appointment of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the FTII as well as four society members of the prestigious film and television institute based in Pune.
The students had said that the appointment of Chauhan, best known for essaying the eldest Pandava brother Yudhisthir in BR Chopra's "Mahabharat", was highly questionable.