Pune: Intensifying their 52-day-old stir for removal of BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as FTII's chairman, nearly 80 agitating students today left for Delhi to hold a protest there on Monday.
The students have been protesting against Chauhan's appointment since June 12, saying he lacked "vision and artistic credentials" to merit the post at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
Chauhan, known for his role of 'Yudhishtira' in popular tele-serial "Mahabharat", has refused to step down, claiming he is well equipped for the job and that if Centre, which has appointed him tells him to go he will do so.
"We will start our march from Jantar Mantar and head for the Parliament Street and will be joined by activists of other like-minded organisations to express their solidarity on the issue, which involves preservation of the Film and Television Institute of India's artistic and academic excellence and ethos," FTII Students' Association (FSA) representative Ranjit Nair told PTI today.
The students' agitation assumed a political hue last Friday with the visit of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to the FTII campus where during an interaction with them, he attacked the RSS ideology alleging that it was systematically promoting "mediocrity" in various institutions.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has made it clear that it will not hold further talks with the students on their demands until the strike is called off and they returned to academics.
The earlier discussion held in Delhi on July 3 by the FSA representatives with I&B Minister Arun Jaitley failed to end the stalemate. The students have been warned that they can face action including rustication if they don't return to classes.
Earlier this month, the students body had written to leaders from various political parties requesting them to intervene and urge the government to revoke the appointments of 'unfit' people and to set up a transparent procedure for future appointments.
Several eminent actors including Anupam Kher, Rishi Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Salman Khan among others have come out in support of the agitating students of FTII and openly opposed Chauhan's appointment.
Many stalwarts of Indian cinema including Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Jahnu Baruah, Raju Hirani, Jaya Bachchan, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ramesh Sippy, Govind Nihalani and Aamir Khan were considered for the post earlier.