Pune/New Delhi: Expressing disappointment with government's response to their demand, students of the FTII decided to continue their strike which entered the 24th day on Sunday till TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan's appointment as its chairman is cancelled.
A row, meanwhile, broke out as to what had transpired at the talks the representatives of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students' association (FSA) had with Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on Friday.
While asserting that there could be no "compromise on the core concern", the FSA on Sunday claimed that Jaitley spoke of prospects of a "shutdown or privatization" if they persisted with their main demand for revocation of Chauhan's appointment.
I&B ministry officials in Delhi strongly refuted the contention that a reference was made regarding privatization at the talks. A reference, they said, was made about the ERC recommendations.
They said that it was mentioned that the Geeta Krishnan report (expenditure reforms commission report) had clearly recommended that both SRFTI and FTII be handed over to the film industry.
Officials said it was mentioned that the Ministry while not having implemented this recommendation, has been endeavouring to support these institutions to become centres of excellence and has even prepared a legislative framework towards this end.
FTII director DJ Narain contradicted the FSA version of the discussion with Jaitley in respect of privatization and shutdown of FTII.
"The minister did not talk about privatization or a shutdown of the institute at all. FSA totally misunderstood what the minister said in reference to the report of Geeta Krishnan committee in the late 90's recommending privatization of institutions including FTII which the I and B ministry did not accept. On the contrary the ministry pumped more funds to boost the FTII", he told PTI here.
The FSA reiterated that they will continue their 24-day old strike till their main demands of Chauhan's removal and reconstitution of the FTII society are met.
Briefing reporters about their hour-long meeting with Jaitley, FSA spokesman Vikas Urs claimed the minister evaded their core concern (reconstitution of FTII society and removal of Chauhan as chairman) during the discussions and gave an assurance of setting up a new committee to address the issues raised by the delegation for "future appointments".
Urs, a member of the students' delegation that met Jaitley, quoted the minister as having said, "If the students persisted with reconstitution of the FTII society( implying Chauhan's removal), they might face bleak prospects of a shutdown or privatization of the FTII".
"There was no solution offered to end the strike and all solutions were for future. No justification or reasoning was offered for appointment of Chauhan or other members of the FTII society. Since our main concern is still exists, the strike is on", Urs said.