The Bengaluru Police on Thursday allegedly threatened the protesting students of the Government Film and Television Institute (GFTI) with arrest if they did not call off their 11-day-long strike against the lack of basic facilities like film and sound equipment and qualified lecturers.
The police told International Business Times India that they went to the campus after receiving a letter from the principal of the institute, S Renuka Naidu, regarding the protests. The students were protesting against the unavailability of equipment required to cover the syllabus, while the ones available were either not functional or in bad working condition, GFTI Students Council's President Agin Basanth said on Friday.
"The police went to the campus and acted like minions of the authorities, screamed against the students and called us 'illegals,'" Basanth said. "The police threatened the students and asked us to call off their strike, and said: 'You don't have the right to protest, you cannot shout slogans and create problems here,'" he added.
"The police arrived when we were sitting on a strike and said: 'You have to leave the place or we'll arrest all the students.' The cops then asked us to come to the police station and give in writing that we would protest outside the campus, not inside, and would cause no damage to property," he explained.
Ravi Kiran, the head of department (HoD) of Cinematography at the institute, said he was against principal Naidu's decision to call the police, and told IBTthat the police "came with the intention of scaring the students."
Doddabelavangala police constable Arjun told IBT that he and a sub-inspector went to the institute on Thursday at around 11 a.m. and saw about seven-eight students protesting on the campus.
The principal had said in the letter that the protesting students had not let about 50 percent of the students, who were not a part of the strike, take exams, Arjun said. Naidu also wrote in the letter that the protesting students prevented the female staff from conducting the examination.
A group of GFTI students had started protesting on April 12 after the college authorities issued a "Shortage Attendance List" with the names of 24 students, Basanth said. Names of six students were subsequently removed from the list, which was released a day after students requested the GFTI authorities to postpone the practical exams scheduled to begin on April 12 as their syllabus had still not been covered.
Several attempts by IBT to contact Naidu went in vain.