PUNE: The Sangh Parivar‘s students’ wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Pune, which has led several students’ agitation and participated in college bandhs, on Saturday stood outside the Film and Television Institute of India‘s (FTII) gates demanding the students withdraw their strike.

The ABVP members said tax payers’ money was being wasted as there have been no classes for the last 44 days. Its leaders gave the FTII students and the administration a week and warned them of an intense agitation and plans to “start the classes themselves at the institute” if they stuck to their protest.

ABVP secretary Anand Purohit gave a memorandum to FTII director Prashant Pathrabe. It said, “The administration must facilitate regular classes with immediate effect keeping the right of the students to protest intact. ABVP, in the interest of common students and society, would protest if regular classes do not commence by the next week.”

Last week, Patit Pavan Sanghatana, also an RSS-supported organisation, had vandalised the art installation, a protest symbol, outside the FTII’s gates.

“Some FTII students want to resume classes and their careers should not be affected. We request the institute’s director to ask the students to withdraw the strike and resume classes. If the students do not withdraw the strike, we will take action for classes to begin and the media will come to know what we do next. We want to mediate between the students and the government to help resolve the issue in the interest of the students,” Pradip Gavade, joint secretary, ABVP, Pune, said.

Senior inspector Pravin Chougle, in-charge of the Deccan Gymkhana police station, said, “Around 35 ABVP activists had staged an agitation outside FTII around 1pm after obtaining permission from us. The agitation ended peacefully after the ABVP handed over two memoranda to the FTII director and the students’ association.”

In the memorandum to the FTII students’ association (FTIISA), Purohit said, “Over 46 days, the FTIISA has been protesting over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman and a few others as members of the governing council of FTII. You have shut down all classes in various departments

. It is unjust to those students who are not part of the protest as they have to bear enormous academic loss. The tax payers’ money is being wasted because of this strike. We appeal that the FTIISA must facilitate regular classes with immediate effect keeping your rights to protest.”

The memorandum also said that the students’ association had made false statements and tried to malign the organisation. It added that the parishad wants to be a mediator between them and the government and resolve the strike.

The FTII students’ association has refuted ABVP’s claim that the strike was supported by only some students and that most wanted classes to resume. “We have the signatures of around 200 students who have agreed to boycott classes. If some students want classes to resume have the freedom and the means to approach the director to address their needs. An outside political organization’s forceful participation (ABVP) in an internal matter is questionable and completely uncalled for,” said Ranjit Nair, representative of the association.

FTII students put up more art installations as a protest. A group of students took to sloganeering like FTII belongs to the students’ in answer to the ABVP slogans of FTII students resume classes’ and Stop wasting tax payers’ money’ following which police intervened and ended the face-off.