ABVP Attacks FTII Students For Inviting Kabir Kala Manch

August 23, 2013 at 9:15 AMAug (Activism, Cinema, Friends, Letter, Media, Music, Slice Of Life)

1175355_653737214636284_418472786_nPune: Five students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) were attacked in the premises of the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) here on Wednesday, 21 August by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The attack took place soon after the screening of filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Jai Bhim Comrade and the performance of Kabir Kala Manch at NFAI. The programme was organized by the FTII student’s body in association with Yugpath, a youth forum based in Pune. This was the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch after two and a half years.

The screening of the documentary and the performance by Kabir Kala Manch was finalised two weeks ago. There was a request to cancel the programme from various quarters respecting the call for bandh as a mark of protest against the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dhabolkar. But Yugpath and the FTII student’s body decided to stick to their plan and go ahead with the screening and performance as a mark of respect and homage to Dhabolkar.

According to Kislay, one of the organisers of the programme, the “ABVP hooligans” walked out of the screening and waited for three hours outside the NFAI premises for the programme to get over to confront the Kabir Kala Manch artists and the organizers. Around 12 of them started crying slogans such as “Bharat Maata Ki Jai” “Vande Mataram” and “Down down Naxals.” which sparked a confrontation between theABVP members and the FTII students, Kislay says. While students Shameen, Ansar Sha, Kislay and Ajayan were hit by sticks holding the saffron flags that the ABVPmembers were carrying, Sriram Raj was attacked with a helmet on his head causing a serious head injury which had to be immediately attended to in a nearby hospital.

Ajayan who also got beaten up said that his cry for help went unanswered even by the police. Many students confirmed the presence of the police outside the NFAI campus minutes before the attack took place. Ajayan said that the attack was not a spontaneous reaction but a well thought out and planned attack.

The FTII students have lodged a complaint against the ABVP at the Prabhat Police Station. The students said they viewed the attack not just against an attack on their freedom of speech and expression but also as an indication of the growing fascist forces that had also allegedly, murdered Dhablokar just the previous day in the city.

Interestingly, the members of ABVP have also filed complaints against the students of FTII at the Prabhat Police Station. They alleged that two of their members were injured and had to be hospitalised, while protesting the participation of an objectionable group (Kabir Kala Manch) in a programme organized by FTII, which is a Central government institute, “ABVP activists did not beat up FTII students. They might have hit Kabir Kala Manch artists after being hit by them first,” Vivekanand Ujalambkar,ABVP Pune Unit Secretary said.

Meanwhile, the Student’s Association of FTII issued a statement condemning the incident and added, “We the students are extremely distressed at this incident. How long can this hooliganism carry on?”

Neeraj Jain of Lokayat, an activist group based out of Pune, condemned the attack on the students and said, “It is a democratic set up and one has the democratic right to perform. ABVP cannot act like the police. When the judiciary has let the members of Kabir Kala Manch on bail what right does ABVP have to question their right to perform?

Playwright Makarand Sathe reacting to the incident said he condemns it and added, “Attacking artists is more condemnable because it is they who create a space for dialogue in a democratic society. Closing down of such spaces for dialogue by any fascist forces, driven whichever specific ideology, is a far bigger threat than it looks on surface.

Ajayan and Kislay speak: click here

Kislay speaks: click here

Press release: click here

(An edited version of this report was published in Tehelka daily)


  1. A Certain Kind Of Political Loneliness… | Crazy Mind's Eye said,

    […] was just three days after 12 goons from the Akhila Bharateeya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) attacked five students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and I was sitting on the table, that […]

  2. Armed with revolutionary poems, Kabir Kala Manch activists want to fight against state | Kabir Kala Manch- Defence Committee said,

    […] ABVP Attacks FTII Students For Inviting Kabir Kala Manch (acrazymindseye.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Neel said,

    It is a bit unfortunate that the writer of this fantastic blog/report is now a good friend of a right-wing bureaucrat who decimated FTII during his tenure and threatened teachers who expressed solidarity with students during the 2013 attack.

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