New Delhi: In a new twist to the ongoing stir over the appointment of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI) extended its support to the striking students.

A press note issued by FFSI president on Thursday, termed the appointment a “blot to the eminence of the institute”. 

“The premiere training institute for training of young persons in the various streams of cinema and television, always had the chairman of its governing council (GC), a person who was recognised as an ’eminent filmmaker enjoying national and international and status’. The appointment of the latest incumbent was a blot to the institute’s fair name,” the statement said. 

The students of the institute went on an indefinite strike on June 12, saying that Chauhan’s appointment is politically motivated. 

The students’ argument to protest the appointment was that Chauhan, who is best known for essaying the role of ‘Yudhisthir’ in B.R. Chopra’s “Mahabharat” and a number of small roles in films like “Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge” and “Baghban”, is not competent for the position. 

A report also said hat the “students’ council sought immediate appointment of another chairman who is ‘qualified with a significant body of work to do justice to the institute’.” 

The statement questioned the procedure in shortlisting the candidate for the post. 

“FFSI is again deeply concerned that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has come out with a plan to scuttle the inner democratic functioning of the governing council of FTII by disallowing the election of the vice-chairman of the FTII Society, and instead nominate a person more acceptable to the students and staff.

“By this strategy, the newly appointed chairman of the FTII would not be changed and left to play a benign role,” the statement said. 

The statement said the impasse “can be overcome by moving the high court to examine if the constitution of the new board was done on the yardstick laid down for the qualifications of various members of the FTII Society.”

Meanwhile, FTII alumni have joined hands to resolve the issue by calling a meeting and holding talks with students. A group of former students is scheduled to hold talks on Thursday. 

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