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'Painful To See Students Assaulted With Impunity': FTII Alumni on Mob Attack

The FTII alumni also slammed the police for "inaction" against those responsible for the violence on the campus.

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Education
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Two days after a right-wing mob barged into the Film and Television Institute of India campus in Pune and attacked students for holding an event in remembrance of Babri mosque, several of FTII's alumni have “unequivocally” condemned the police's alleged “inaction” and said that it “is painful to see the students of this great film school being assaulted with impunity."

Over 280 alumni issued the letter on Thursday, 25 January, wherein they said they "unequivocally condemn" the recent violence perpetrated on the students by "unidentified people who entered the campus without permission."

The signatories names such as:

  • Academy-award winner and sound designer Resul Pookutty

  • Film directors such as Saeed Mirza and Abhijit Mazumdar

  • Filmfare Award winning director Harshvardhan Kulkarni (Badhai Do, Hunterrr)

  • Director Payal Kapadia (award winner for best documentary at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival)

  • National Award winning film director Nishtha Jain

  • Film editor Hemanti Sarkar (editor Lal Singh Chaddha, Stree, Dear Zindagi, English Vinglish)

  • Film editor Jabeen Merchant, (NH10, Zwigato, Four More Shots Please)

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"That intruders were allowed to attack the students is inexcusable. The inaction of the police in investigating and taking action against those responsible for the violence — clearly recorded on video — is even more inexcusable," reads the letter.

On 23 January, a day after the Ram temple consecration, a right-wing mob of 20-25 people barged in the FTII campus, shouted slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans, burnt down the Babri masjid poster, abused, punched and brutally thrashed several student body members, including a female student.

  • Right-wing mob barged in at the campus.

    (Photo: Screenshot from the video accessed by The Quint)

The ruckus took place over a poster which read, 'Remember Babri: Death of Constitution.' After the incident, the members of the right-wing mob filed an FIR against some of the students. The students told The Quint that two of the seven names were also 'fake.'

The security guard, on behalf of the Institute also filed an FIR against 15 people on charges of rioting. However, three members of the mob were detained but were released later, as per a local journalist in Pune.

'Appealing to Police to Take Prompt Action'

The letter, further read, "We appeal to the police and all relevant authorities to take prompt action against those who perpetrated violence against the students and who entered with the intent to vandalise property on the campus."

They continued, "It is painful to see the students of this great film school being assaulted with impunity. We, as a community of film professionals, educators, and artists of both national and international acclaim, extend our support to the FTII student community at this tough and testing moment."

The students had organised a photo exhibition for on Babri masjid demolition. On 22 January, a screening for 'Ram Ke Naam' was also held on the campus.

However, the right-wing mob attacked them the next day while the "police watched and didn't really help," alleged the students. FTII students also criticised the narrative in the mainstream media that it was not a 'clash.'

"The (student body) president was thrashed so badly that they would've killed him if they weren't stopped. Students are worried. If in the presence of police, this can happen then whom do we even rely on? It feels very unsafe for all of us," an FTII student had told The Quint.

The students are currently in talks with the administration to figure out the next steps to take care of the situation justly.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Babri Masjid Demolition   Pune   Ram Mandir 

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