FTII protest
The FTII students have called off their 139-day old strike and decided to resume classes, but will continue to protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the institution.Facebook/Support FTII protest

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday took to Twitter to urge TV actor and the newly-appointed chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Gajendra Chauhan to quit. 

Singh also hit out at the pater familias of the Hindutva organisations, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), accusing it of trying to "impose" its cadres on government-aided organisations.

The FTII is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).

"Appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman FTII is such example. Urge Gajendra Chauhan to resign. Nepotism and Favouritism above Merit," Singh said in a tweet.

The party's senior leader took on the BJP and the RSS almost a month after students and alumni of the FTII started their protests against the appointment of Chauhan on 9 June.

Several eminent film personalities, including film directors Girish Kasaravalli and Adoor Gopalakrishnan, also came out in their support.

Many others from the film fraternity, including veteran actors Piyush Mishra and Anupam Kher, have also criticised the appointment of Chauhan. 

Recently, actor Rishi Kapoor too spoke on the issue and advised Chauhan to retire with self pride.

"After all the protests and controversy,Gajendra Chauhan,the FTII Chairman should voluntarily retire. Will do good to the students," Kapoor tweeted. 

However, Chauhan seems to be adamant, saying he would not quit until asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-government.

Chauhan, who became a member of the BJP in 2004, has been associated with the party for more than 20 years. 

The students of FTII and other protesters, justifying their opposition to Chauhan's appointment, say his lack of "significant contribution/work to even qualify as a footnote or a passing reference in the history of Indian cinema and television".

Chauhan, who played Yudhisthir in TV epic Mahabharata, has worked in several soft porn films.

Following the unending protest and students' reluctance to attending the classes, the I&B Ministry invited the students of FTII to sort out matters.

On 3 July, the students led by Kasaravalli and others met  I&B Minister Arun Jaitley and raised their demands at the two-hour meeting.

Somre reports say the meeting was "inconclusive", while others suggested the I&B Ministry has threatened to shut down the institution or privatise it if the protests continue, attracting criticism from the film fraternity. 

Criticising the government over the alleged threat, Gopalakrishnan said: "An institution like FTII cannot be closed in a day at the behest of a minister and higher authorities. If the government has made the wrong choice then it is for them to correct it".

In the wake of the uncertainty over the Centre's decision, FTII Students' Association (FSA) is planning to seek judicial remedy to ensure Chauhan is removed from his post. 

"We are also exploring the option of approaching a court of law on the issue as judiciary is another platform available to us," PTI quoted FSA representative Rakesh Shukla as saying.

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