Over 200 FTII alumni condemn violence against students over banner decrying Babri Masjid demolition

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FTII babri banner

New Delhi: Over 200 FTII alumni have written an open letter in solidarity with the students of the premiere institute after an alleged attack on them by right-wing activists over a banner decrying the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The letter has been signed by 207 former students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), including Oscar winner Resul Pookutty, film editor Anupama Chandra, filmmaker Prateek Vats and actor Shardul Bhardwaj.

"It is painful to see the students of this great film school being assaulted with impunity. We, as a community of film professionals, educators, and artists of both national and international acclaim, extend our support to the FTII student community at this tough and testing moment," the letter said.

The incident at the Pune-based film institute took place on Tuesday, a day after the grand consecration ceremony of the Ram Lalla idol in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

According to police, some 12 to 15 unidentified persons allegedly barged into the campus by overpowering security personnel and assaulted students while shouting slogans. They tore up and burnt the banner put up by the FTII Students Association (FSA) and read "Remember Babri, Death of Constitution".

The FSA has claimed that its president Mankap Nokwoham was among those who were attacked.

The alumni group said they "unequivocally condemn" the violence perpetrated on the students of the film institute.

"FTII students had organised discussions and screenings on their campus as part of their academic commitment. That intruders were allowed to attack the students is inexcusable," the open letter said.

It said the inaction of the police in investigating and taking action against those responsible for the violence was even "more inexcusable".

"We appeal to the police and all relevant authorities to take prompt action against those who perpetrated violence against the students and who entered with the intent to vandalise property on the campus of FTII, Pune.

"We hold the institute in great affection and regard, and owe to it the rigorous training that turned us into film professionals," it added.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against unidentified persons at Deccan police station under Indian Penal Code sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 427 (mischief causing damage) and other relevant provisions, the police said.

The police has also registered an FIR against three students under Indian Penal Code sections 153B (1) (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).