“Why do you think the government is so disturbed by your protests?” asked Mr. Gandhi.
Several big names from the Indian film industry, including Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Anupan Kher, have backed the students in their protest, saying Chauhan must step down as the chairperson.
The Congress leader said: “The RSS and its ideologues are systematically promoting mediocre people in the system. You are feeling it here, but this is happening across the board in education, in the bureaucracy, in the judiciary”, he said. This is not going on just in the education system, but also in the bureaucratic and judicial systems.
“Their ideology is promoting mediocrity”.
Ajay, a student, said: “We wrote letters to 50 members across party lines, including BJP leaders like Shatrughan Sinha – but they did not respond”. “If you do not agree with them, they will shut you up. That is the nature of a bully”.
Saying that this “little school” was “disturbing” the government’s peace of mind, he said all that it wants to promote its idea and would brand the protesting students as “anti-national”. He promised them that he would raise the issue in Parliament. They are asking for a discussion for their voice to be heard. Gandhi who visited the campus met the students and headed to the main theatre, where there were film screenings of noted Marathi actor/director and former FTII student, Umesh Kulkarni’s Girni, a film on Prabhat theatre and a documentary on FTII’s first convocation. “What could be more pro-national than that?” he asked.
Rahul Gandhi, who was accompanied by actors and Congressmen Raj Babbar and Chiranjeevi.
According to reports, some students had approached Rahul Gandhi to intervene in the matter. He has got a topic.
If he chooses to make common cause with FTII students can we blame him? “We will answer him later”, said Mr Rawal.
He commented that if the students want to remain apolitical and want someone who is not politically affiliated then they should not have invited Rahul Gandhi also.
The students have charged that Chauhan and other four appointed members “lack credentials” and have been selected because of their “affiliations” to the RSS or the BJP.
Secondly, he said that if all 250 of the 250 students did not want Mr Chauhan, “he shouldn’t be there”.