Centre's fresh offer to end FTII deadlock – 'unconditional' talks with students

In a bid to resolve the ongoing deadlock at the reputed Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the Centre has reportedly made a fresh offer to the striking students to end the three-month long agitation.  

Updated: Sep 17, 2015, 10:07 AM IST
Centre's fresh offer to end FTII deadlock – 'unconditional' talks with students
Centre's fresh offer to end FTII deadlock – 'unconditional' talks with students

New Delhi: In a bid to resolve the ongoing deadlock at the reputed Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the Centre has reportedly made a fresh offer to the striking students to end the three-month long agitation.

Reports, Thursday, said that the Centre has this time agreed to hold ''unconditional'' talks with the students to resolve the crisis over Gajendra Chauhan's appointment as FTII head.

The fresh offer from the government comes nearly three months after the FTII students began an indefinite hunger strike over Chauhan's appointment.

The I&B Ministry's offer was made a day after senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari held informal talks with students' representatives on Wednesday amid the continuing relay hunger strike by three protesters at the FTII campus in Pune.

In a letter addressed to FTII Students Association (FSA) president Harishankar Nachimuthu, the Ministry said that on previous occasions progress towards ending the stalemate could not take place because students had gone back and laid stiff preconditions.

The letter was written by Joint Secretary (films) K Sanjay Murthy, said reports.

In the letter, Murthy stressed that the I&B Ministry is fully aware of the seminal role FTII has played in shaping Indian cinema and, in case, the students are keen to end the impasse they can contact him.

"In case you are keen to end the stalemate and resume the academics, you are welcome to discuss the issues with the Ministry without any preconditions," he was quoted as saying.

The agitation entered the 97th day on Wednesday with the students pressing for the removal of Chauhan.

The letter mentions that one of the interactive sessions "at the highest levels within this Ministry" was held on July 25, in the presence of Nachimuthu and well meaning interlocutors Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Raju Hirani.

The letter noted that a few days later, an email was sent to the Ministry on July 31 by the FSA "laying down stiff preconditions." It adds that FTII director Prashant Pathrabe re-initiated the dialogue on September 1, but once again another communication similar to the tone and tenor of the email sent on July 31 was sent stalling progress.

In Pune, Maharashtra BJP spokesman Bhandari said, "My visit and talks were in personal capacity during which I tried to find a common meeting ground to end the strike. When there are negotiations to discuss the issues raised, a give and take approach and not a rigid one matters."