ABVP attacks FTII Students Outside NFAI in Pune

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

Akhil Bharateeya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) attacked five students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) outside the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) on 21 August after the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Jai Bheem Comrade and the performance of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) at NFAI.

Pune-based youth forum Yugpath and the FTII students’ body collaboratively organized the program, which marked the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch after two and a half years.

ABVP attacks FTII Students Outside NFAI in PuneThe students attacked by ABVP cadre were Shameen (2nd year cinematography), Ansar Sha (3rd cinematography), Kislay (3rd year Editing), Sriram Raju (3rd year Editing) and Ajayan (3rd year Sound), according to a release by the FTII Students Association.

The latest program wherein KKM members gave their performance reportedly provoked ABVP activists to indulge in scuffle. It’s learnt that various groups requested to cancel the program as a mark of protest against the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dhabolkar.

Despite a call for bandh, Yugpath and the FTII student’s body decided to go ahead with the decided schedule of the program, for the same reason – to pay respect and homage to Mr. Dhabolkar.

“Around 12 ABVP members, who entered NFAI around 5pm, were waiting outside the NFAI premises for almost three hours,” stated the release.

“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.

“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.”

The ABVP activists also shouted slogans such as “Bharat Maata Ki Jai”, “Vande Mataram” and “Down down Naxals”. A FTII student was first slapped by an ABVP activist, and despite other students trying to calm down the situation, the cadre ceaselessly went on shouting slogans and beaten up students with flag sticks.

“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,” noted the release.

Students alleged that though police was there in civil suits but they did not stop the ABVP cadre from hurting KKM members and FTII students. The FTII students’ body has filed a complaint against the ABVP at Prabhat Police station.

“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,” the students’ body expressed.

“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 their thoughts through these media is highly condemnable.

“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.”

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