Hindutva Mob Vandalize FTII Campus, Assault Students Over Babri Masjid Poster

Hindutva Mob

A disturbing incident unfolded on Tuesday at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, as a group of men associated with Hindutva outfits stormed the campus, vandalized property, and assaulted students in connection with the burning of a poster related to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992. The incident has raised concerns about the safety and security of students within educational institutions.

According to Maktoob Media, the men entered the FTII campus chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and slogans praising the 17th-century Maratha ruler Shivaji. Disturbing videos circulating on social media show the group burning a poster that read “Remember Babri, death of Constitution” and destroying a board displaying photos commemorating the event.

Reports indicate that the men specifically targeted student union president Mankap Nokwoham, General Secretary Sayantan Chakrabarty, and two others, including a female student, who have been hospitalized following the altercation.

The Deccan Gymkhana police station confirmed the incident, stating, “Some members of various right-wing outfits entered the FTII campus on Tuesday afternoon and took down the banner and set it on fire while chanting slogans.” An ensuing clash erupted between the Hindutva activists and a group of FTII students.

Senior Inspector Vipin Hasabnis, in charge of the police station, mentioned that the police intervened promptly upon receiving information and managed to bring the situation under control. However, a student alleged that the police stood by passively while the attack unfolded, accusing them of complicity in the violence.

The affected students, now hospitalized, await medical examination reports to confirm the extent of their injuries. Meanwhile, the FTII students have decided to address the issue legally and are currently staging a sit-in protest within the campus premises.

The incident has its roots in the demolition of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992, by Hindutva extremists who believed it was built on the birthplace of the deity Ram. This event triggered widespread communal riots across the country. In November 2019, the Supreme Court deemed the demolition illegal but allotted the land for a Ram temple construction. Simultaneously, a five-acre plot in Ayodhya was allocated for Muslims to build a mosque.

Monday saw the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya in a ceremony led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The recent incident at FTII raises questions about the delicate balance between freedom of expression and the need for a safe educational environment.

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