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Five arrested granted bail

Posted in S. Asia

Published on August 21, 2015 with No Comments

Five Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students who were arrested in a midnight swoop, for ‘gherao’ and alleged illegal confinement of institute director Prashant Pathrabe, were granted bail by a court.

Magistrate Narendra Joshi rejected the prosecution’s plea for police custody of the students, granting bail in the sum of Rs 3,000 to each of them. Defence lawyers Shrikant Shivade and Aseem Sarode refuted the prosecution’s charge that the students had indulged in violent behaviour during the sit-in “gherao” of the director.

Defence lawyers Shrikant Shivade and Aseem Sarode refuted the prosecution’s charge saying that the purpose was only to discuss the assessment issues of the 2008 batch, and the students were not “thugs”.

Earlier FTII director said that a group of students kept him in illegal confinement for 8-10 hours and vandalised his office, forcing him to lodge a police complaint. Defence lawyer Shivade argued that the police action was in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines relating to police’s powers to arrest especially when the offence attracts punishment of less than seven years.
“The police were bound to justify their action by furnishing a separate report specifying the reasons for arrest but they did not do so in their remand report,” he said.
Shivade argued that the police misconstrued the students’ meeting with the FTII director as an unlawful assembly when all they were wanting to know from the director was that how can he proceed with the assessment of the incomplete projects when the department heads and the academic council had said that such an exercise was unwarranted at this point in time. The students’ career was at stake and they were justified in meeting the director in the presence of other institute officials, he contented.   Shivade played a video clip of the agitation on a laptop before the court to show that the students were not at fault for the breaking of the glass pane in the director’s office. He said the film is quite clear for the police to identify all those who were present in the room and hence there was no need for custodial remand of the arrested students.

The striking students of of FTII have  ruled out any compromise on their main demand of removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan’s aschairman of the institute.

Addressing a press conference after his arrest and release on bail by a local court along with four others, FTII Students’ Association (FSA) leader Vikas Urs said that conversely it should be the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which needs to dilute its hard posture on the controversial appointment.

Referring to the dramatic midnight police crackdown on the students, Urs said it amounted to “criminalisation” by the FTII administration which had lost all credibility.


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