New Delhi: As FTTI students demanding the removal of Gajendra Chauhan held protests in the national capital, Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Monday accused Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi of giving political colour to the stir.
The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting said said government was open to discussions with the agitating students but was against politicising the issue. In some ways, an aspect has been coming up which suggested that despite solutions, despite the meetings, there was a section of students that was interested in continuing with the strike, he noted. "And with Rahul Gandhi's Pune visit it has become clear that the strike has taken a political colour or it is a political strike from the beginning," he said.
The students, who are on Monday holding a protest at Jantar Mantar here, have been agitating 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). Rahul Gandhi had visited the FTII campus in Pune last Friday and attacked the RSS ideology alleging that it was systematically promoting "mediocrity" in various institutions. The minister said the government believes that FTII is an important institution and there is need to strengthen it.
"Students come after the institution, first we will strengthen FTII," Rathore said, adding the government is open to discussion and students could come for meetings. "It is not wise to give a political institution a political angle. And if the institution holds a strike in Delhi and Congress workers participate in it, this too is not wise," Rathore said. "If the issue is to be resolved, it has to be done by the students, the administration and the government and not by any political party," he stressed.
Rathore also said the government had adopted a liberal outlook towards the students. "In the last 50 days, no strong action has been taken considering that they are students," he said. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had earlier 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.