FTII Pune violence: Case registered against 7 for hurting religious sentiments

FTII Pune violence: Case registered against 7 for hurting religious sentiments

FTII Pune violence: Case registered against 7 for hurting religious sentiments

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A case has been registered against 7 individuals of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune at Deccan Police Station for hurting the sentiments of Hindu people.

As per information from the FIR accessed by Pune Pulse, the case has been filed by complainant Rutuja Mane who is the woman president of Samast Hindu Bandhav Samajik Sanstha, Maharashtra State against 7 accused.

The FIR further says that on January 23, 2024, banners reading “Remember Babri Death of Constitution FTII Students Association, Fall In Shall Rise, Ram Mandir Temple of Shame” were seen on FTII premises. A suggestion box was kept under the banners suggesting re-erection & revamping of Babri Masjid. Hurtful messages were written on papers & pasted on walls. Such non-peaceful activities, which could potentially cause large-scale riots, are being done by members of the FTII Students Association.

Hence, Rutuja Mane, on behalf of the Samast Hindu Bandhav Samajik Sanstha, Maharashtra State, has filed a FIR at Deccan Police Station.

The 7 accused are booked under Sections 153-B (1) (c), 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Further investigation into the matter is underway.

On January 23, student groups at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) clashed with each other on Tuesday afternoon over a banner that the students’ association had put up on the campus. The banner read “Remember Babri, Death of Constitution,” referring to the mosque’s demolition in 1992 – 

According to the police, right-wing outfit members set the banner on fire.

The Students Association Film and Television Institute of India have refuted the allegations made by the organisation and released their say about the entire incident.

The press release stated, “Following the dreadful events of yesterday when a mob of Hindutvavadi mob barged into our institute and attacked our students, the campus still remains terrorized. The news came to us from social media that this same organization has filed an FIR against us charging us of serious and false offenses. Now five of our students are anticipating the worst. When our institute filed an FIR against the mob, they failed to mention some grievous happenings of the day, including the charge of infringing on women’s modesty. One of our female students was physically attacked by the assailants and that has no mention in the charges. Additionally, the seriousness of the fight has been underplayed in the FIR as well as in the media. The assailants not just burnt banners and shouted slogans in the name of Ram, they also pushed, slapped, shoved, punched and attacked many students gathered there while hurling abuses. Students, while holding their ground, were trying to defend everyone.”

The release further stated that there is a serious concern about how this event is being portrayed on social media platforms. Hindutva organizations have painted a false picture of the events. Students
have not attacked anyone, we were only defending ourselves. In addition, they are the ones who have threatened us with further violence if we step out of the campus premises. It also brings into question who all have been highlighted in their charges- a random targeting of five students out of a gathering all of whom were defending themselves and one who accompanied the injured to the hospital. There are other social media posts threatening FTII students with physical violence and harassment. In addition, the assailants got offended by our remembrance of the history of our country. We were reading texts that were secular in nature and trying to uphold the basic rights that are due to all citizens of our country- rights that have been taken away from many of our citizens, and that continue to be rejected to many today.

“This is apparent in the charges made against our students. If upholding secular values and expressing dissent against their erasure is considered objectionable and worthy of violence to these assailants, we feel strongly that everyone should be alerted of the dire straits we are in, and the kind of terror that surrounds us today. Our administration has taken a soft stance in helping the students wrongly accused in this case, even though they face horrendous risks. They have stated that they cannot help us and will not take a protective stand. In addition, they have said that some senior members themselves have been offended by our expression and hence will not lend help. Again, it brings into question what these members in important posts think about freedom of expression and of our rights to highlight secular values- values that have been enshrined in our constitution,” the release informed.

“After much convincing throughout the day, they have agreed to make supplementary charges to the FIR the institute has filed, highlighting the attack on women and their safety in the campus, something they should have done before and offered us a semblance of reassurance. We condemn this attack and the support that they enjoy from the authorities inside and and outside our campus. We appeal to everyone reading this to raise your voices against this breach of our rights, and the further terror caused by the spurious charges filed against our students. The freedom of expression and the right to dissent is under serious threat in these times, and one must continue to fight for these imperative beliefs,” the release concluded.

Shreyas Vange

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