Students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) say that Nilanjan Dutta, visiting professor at the institute has been dismissed following sexual harassment complaints against him. The officials, however, are not willing to comment on the decision that is said to have been made two weeks ago.
It was in December, 2015 that the first charge of sexual harassment was made against Dutta. Adwaita Das, an alumnus of FTII was in Mumbai to receive an award for her film when she saw that Dutta was on stage as a guest to present her the award. In her acceptance speech, she accused Dutta of having harassed her when she was a student in FTII and demanded an apology on stage. Adwaita said that the professor had asked her to ‘sexually manipulate’ students to get them to participate in ragging.
Following Adwaita’s allegation, other students spoke up. Pujita, currently a research sholar in Jawaharalal Nehru University (JNU) came out as a student who was sexually harassed in FTII during ragging. She spoke about the pressure that the women students faced when they decided to confront harassment, sexism and misogyny on campus. Pujita had to eventually drop out of the FTII course. Soon after these events, sister film school, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata reported incidents of sexual harassment and expulsion of three professors.
Now, after 3 years of these revelations, FTII seems to have acted upon Nilanjan Dutta. However, they have refused to disclose the information to media. Nilanjan Dutta’s name was one among the many names that surfaced when the list of sexual harassers in academia was published by Raya Sarkar. Following this, around 20-30 women students of FTII had signed a letter saying they were not comfortable being taught by a man who had been accused of sexual harassment.
Three women students lodged complaints with the Internal Complaints Committee (IC) for Sexual Harassment and an inquiry was initiated with Ms. Suchitra Sathe as the Chairperson. While all students are aware of the move to dismiss Nilanjan following the inquiry, there seems to be no official notice that has gone out in the institute, a student said. General Secretary of Students’ Association, Rohit said that the news had reached the students by word of mouth and that no official document had been passed on to the Association.
It is also said that Nilanjan Dutta has now been offered a post in the newly established sister film school in Arunachal Pradesh. Registrar Varun Bhardwaj and Director of FTII, Bhupendra Kainthode refused to comment on the matter.