NEW DELHI: In a midnight swoop on the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) campus, Pune Police arrested five students for allegedly confining and manhandling institute Director Prashant Pathrabe.

Police showed up at the FTII hostels with an arrest warrant for 15 students. Complications in the form of misspelt names and objections over the arrest of three female students resulted in five of the 15 finally being arrested and whisked away.

The incident is located in the wider context of student protests over the appointment of television actor-turned-politician Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman of the institute. The motive behind the protests is linked to students questioning Chauhan’s creative capabilities given his limited expertise in the area, but has also got a political angle with many projecting it as resistance to the Narendra Modi-led BJP government to further its right wing agenda.

Last night’s incident can be traced to this tension, with Pathrabe issuing a complaint with the police in which he alleged that during a meeting that he had called for assessing diploma film projects of the batch of 2008, about 50 students started shouting at him, blocking his exit from the office and threatening him. The students were booked under sections 143, 147, 149, 323, 341, 353, 506 of Indian Penal Code and Section 3 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

The incident sparked an outcry, with this one post summing up the wider issues at play.

The last few weeks have seen arbitrarily draconian responses from the police, with a major incident involving the Mumbai police rounding up 13 couples and 35 others following raids at hotels and a beach, charging them with “indecent behaviour.” Consenting adults spending a night in a hotel room were picked up by policemen, and 35 others were caught for consuming alcohol in public.

Also recently, the BJP led government at the centre made a move to ban porn websites in India, issuing notices to internet service providers across India to ban 850 pornographic sites. The ban was revoked shortly after but helped seal the BJP’s reputation as a government for the ban.

The BJP has therefore become somewhat notorious for bans, including the Maharashtra government’s ban on beef, the ban on the BBC documentary "India's daughter"; the list of cuss words issued by the censor board that should be banned in films, the ban of the film ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ that prevented it from releasing in India… the list goes on.

Whilst the FTII protests are not linked to a ban, they are linked to the same culture of hegemonic imposition. The arrest of these five students is in line with the same culture.

The incident was trending on Twitter, with the hashtag #FTII being used.