The five students attacked are Shameen – a second year cinematography
student, Ansar Sha – a third year cinematography student, Kislay and
Sriram Raju – both third year Editing students and Ajayan – a third year
The screening of the documentary and the performance by Kabir Kala Manch
(KKM) was finalized two weeks ago. There was a request to cancel the
programme from various quarters respecting the call for bandh as a mark
of protest against the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra
Dhabolkar. But Yugpath and the FTII students’ body decided to stick to
their plan and go ahead with the screening and performance as a mark of
respect and homage to Mr. Dhabolkar.
"About 12 ABVP members, who entered NFAI around 5pm, were waiting
outside the NFAI premises for almost three hours. As soon as the Kabir
Kala Manch Members finished their performance, the ABVP members started
interrogating the FTII students and verbally accusing them of indulging
in anti-national activities by calling KKM to perform in public", said
the release. The FTII students’ association members retorted by saying
that, we all are aware that KKM is a cultural organization and we
support their performances which are anti-caste and superstition.
"Hearing this, the ABVP members started shouting slogans – as “Bharat
Maata Ki Jai” “Vande Mataram” and “Down down Naxals.” One of the ABVP
members slapped an FTII student, after which some other students
intervened and started to cool down the situation. The ABVP then
ceaselessly went on shouting slogans and took out their Orange flags
that they had hidden all this while", the release said.
As explained in the release, "Looking at the tense situation within the
NFAI premises, FTII students started walking outside the NFAI gate. The
ABVP volunteers followed them and, as soon as the students were outside
the gate, around 12 ABVP volunteers attacked 4 students with the wooden
base of their flags, and one student was hit on the head with a helmet.
He was taken to the hospital and got a few stitches on his head".
"Before the event was about to begin, one police person in plain clothes
was investigating the people behind this event. Later we saw the same
person mingling with the ABVP members outside the NFAI premises. And
when the students were being beaten by the ABVP and shouted for police
help, the man didn’t do anything and was just a mute spectator. The FTII
Students Association has filed a complaint against the ABVP at Prabhat
Police station", the release said as eyewitness account.
"We as students of FTII don’t see this event as a stray incident. It is
a much larger narrative of the rise of authoritarianism and its
continuous efforts in curbing the freedom of speech and expression.
Students Association of FTII is not affiliated with any political party.
We are artists and filmmakers who believe in freedom of self expression
through the medium of films, music and theatre. Attacking anyone who is
expressing the thoughts through these media is highly condemnable. We
are increasingly witnessing that any individual or organization that
takes an opinion that is contrary to the mainstream, is labelled as
anti-national and all efforts are taken to intimidate them which can
also amount to murder, especially looking at the recent case of Dr.
Narendra Dabolkar. What is more harrowing is the complete numbness of
the state regarding these atrocities, where police personnel despite
being present at the situations did not take any action", the student
association cautioned through its release while pressing its demand for
immediate action saying, "We therefore demand quick action against the
ABVP so that incidents like these do not occur again. We are also
planning to hold a protest march against incidents like these which
various cultural institutions are increasing facing".