On Thursday, students of the Film And Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, staged a protest against Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, against his ‘communal’ political ideology and inflammatory speeches during the 2020 Delhi riots. The General Secretary of the students’ association, Samadrita Ghosh, spoke to web portal The Wire saying, “We wanted to demonstrate that he is not welcomed by students given his political ideology, past actions and his open calls for violence when riots took place in Delhi.” Thakur raised a slogan ‘desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro s**** ko’ day before the riots which was seen as instigating violence against Muslims.
Banners and placards calling for unity and ceebrating diversity were shown to the minister from a distance as he went around the campus. Reports say around 300 students participated.
Prior to his visit, the student body had released a statement saying: “…we cannot help but question what the presence of Mr. Thakur means to this place, in addition to the glorified welcome extended to him by our administration”.
The students alleged that bureaucrats from the ministry tried to intimidate them against holding their demonstration on campus. In a press release, they said that their representatives spoke to the minister very briefly, during which time he was not receptive to their concerns and also raised his voice at them.
The FTII was at the centre of national attention in 2015 and 2016 for protests against the Modi government on similar ideological lines.