A day after the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya, reports have come in of a mob barging into the Film and Television Institute in India campus in Pune, Maharashtra. The mob, seen in videos, of over about 25 people angrily raking through the campus and even confronting the security personnel deployed within the university premises. Students, speaking to Sabrang India, have attested that the mob came and some students, including members of the student body, have been injured in the process. Women were also not spared by the mob. Student’s banners were also burned and photo frame were broken, voices from the campus reveal.
Hindutva groups barged into FTII Pune, launching attack on students & setting ablaze banner reading “remember Babri”. Assailants, chanting “Jai Shri Ram” & derogatory slogans, targeted both male and female students. Students claim police complicity in the assault.
— Maktoob (@MaktoobMedia) January 23, 2024
The student body at the institute, FTII Students’ Association had screened Anand Patwardhan’s award-winning documentary of the Babri Masjid demolition called Raam ke Naam on January 22nd, 2024. They had even invited Patwardhan for the screening of the documentary at the campus. However, despite pressure and threats, students revealed, they managed to screen the documentary and hold a live questions and answers session peacefully in the campus. However, little did they know that they would be attached the very next day!
A press note released by the student body states that once the police arrived, they took no action against the mob, who started leaving, and the culprits were “free to go.” The press note also decries the narrative, they say, is spread in the media that the incident was a scuffle between the two groups.
Sabrang India spoke to a Sayantan Chakrabarti, general secretary of the Student’s Association at from the institute, who stated that the situation continues to remain very tense in the campus. Students continue to be threatened and under fear even though the police has been deployed as of now.
Indian film actor Madhavan was recently nominated in September 2023 as the institute’s chairman. Madhavan recently took to Instagram to make a reportedly celebratory post about the Ram Temple inauguration in Ayodhya yesterday.
Incidents similar to this have been witnessed on several occasions in the past two days. Students in Kerala’s KR Narayanan Film Institute were also unable to screen the documentary without disruptions. A group of people gathered and protested the screening outside the premises of the institute, following which they had to screen Raam ka Naam inside the institute’s premises. The local police had to arrive and diffuse the crowd.
Similarly, on January 21, a film screening of the same documentary was disrupted by Hindutva outfits in Hyderabad. Rather than taking action against the disruptors, the police targeted the event organisers. Although now released, the owners of Marley’s Joint Bistro, where the screening took place, and members of the organising body, Hyderabad Cinephiles, were swiftly arrested and had charges filed against them which include Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 290 (public nuisance), 295A (outraging religious feelings), and 149 of the Indian Penal Code.