In a bid to silence dissident students, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has started refusing scholarships and the opportunity to participate in foreign exchange programmes to those who staged a four-month-long protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the head of the institute.
The institute administration cited “disciplinary matters” to block the scholarships to those involved in the protest.
According to reports, FTII Director Bhupendra Kainthola has directed the heads of departments (HODs) and Deans to send all files pertaining to scholarships and foreign exchanges through the office of the Proctor, who is in charge of maintaining discipline.
It’s true that scholarships have been held back, but only in cases of serious indiscipline or when the inquiry is incomplete. It is equally true that scholarships have been released for students who have apologised in writing and promised good behaviourBhupendra Kainthola, FTII Director
Among the eight students, who have “disciplinary matters” pending against them, and was denied scholarships, four students were involved in gheraoing then FTII Director Prashant Pathrabhe in August 2015, at during the peak of protest against Chauhan’s appointment.
The four ‘disqualified’ students are also among the 35 students, including some who have since completed their course in FTII, undergoing trial at a Pune court on charges related to the agitation and gheraoing, documents obtained from various FTII departments by The Indian Express shows.
The FTII had denied release of funds to four other students eligible for scholarships saying three of them were accused of “consuming alcohol and creating disturbance”, while another student was accused of ‘talking disrespectfully to and shouting at the Proctor’. Incidentally, the scholarship of the fourth student was cleared after he submitted a written apology.
However, there are voices inside the administration opposing the move to victimise the students.
“Issues of discipline are minor infringements… and should not prejudice our assessment of students who are basically talented. Hence, scholarships should be awarded to students. However, the final decision is with the director,” Dean of the institute (Films) had said earlier.