FTII students' hunger strike against 2020 batch student's expulsion enters 8th day

The situation remains dire as the health of these students continues to deteriorate and the institute remains apathetic
FTII | (Pic: Express)
FTII | (Pic: Express)

While the screening of The Kerala Story at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune is making headlines, an indefinite hunger strike by four students against the expulsion of a batchmate enters its eighth day today, May 22. The situation remains dire as the health of these students continues to deteriorate.

Earlier in April, Ayush Verma, a student from the 2020 batch was expelled by the institute administration citing a lack of credits and attendance, along with four other students. "Our second-semester results were declared on April 5, and that's when the administration took this step," Ayush says.

As a sign of protest, the entire 2020 batch has suspended all academic activities since April 10, today marking the 45th day. After the expulsion order was issued, the students also organised a sit-in protest in front of the director's office. They held several meetings and consultations with the administration, after which, four students were allegedly allowed to continue their studies on the condition that they complete remedial assignments and exercises determined by department heads. However, Ayush remained detained.

On May 1, he was reportedly asked to repeat his course as a supernumerary student. "This is discriminatory as supernumerary students do not get a chance to take part in practical activities such as filmmaking, filming documentaries and dialogue, which are essential to film education," said a member of the FTII Students' Association, who is also among those on hunger strike. 

The student further states that they have proved that the data showing a lack of credits and attendance on the expelled student's part have discrepancies. "Moreover, the student was suffering from severe mental depression. We have shown the medical certificates to the administration, but the authorities are not ready to accept them," the association member claimed.

Ayush adds that even after the administration asked his doctor to substantiate his medical certificates, his situation remained unchanged. "Even during the meetings, I felt that the authorities were personally maligning me," the student said. Frustrated with the apathy of the administration, the students began their hunger strike on May 15. "None of the admin members have even come to visit us till date," the students' association member claimed.

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