"We are calling off the strike as a collective decision in the best interests of the students and returning to academics with immediate effect. But our protest will continue. We will take the battle forward," FTII Students Association representative Vikas Urs said in Pune.
As the lingering impasse at the Film and Television Institute of India ended, 10 frontline filmmakers including Dibakar Banerjee and Anand Patwardhan announced in Mumbai their decision to return the prestigious National Awards over government's 'apathy' in addressing the students issues and the environment of intolerance.
"As filmmakers we stand with the students of FTII and are determined to not let them shoulder the entire burden of the protest," they said in a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"We feel compelled to return the honour the state has bestowed on us. Condoling deaths without interrogating the forces that scripted those murder revealed a tacit acceptance of the ugly force distorting our country," they said.
The unilateral announcement by FTII students came after repeated talks between the agitating students and Information & Broadcasting Ministry representatives failed to break the logjam, with both sides refusing to budge from their conflicting position on the issue of removal of Chauhan, best known for his role of Yudhishthir in teleserial Mahabharat.
Urs declared though the students have decided to call off the strike, there will not be any 'proactive engagement' with the I&B Ministry. Reflecting the continuing unease on the campus despite withdrawal of the stir, Urs said, "Now, it goes beyond the five appointments (of Chauhan and four FTII society members) which we had questioned."
"The right wing attitude is exposed and we know who is running the country," he said, apparently targeting BJP's ideological mentor RSS.


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