Tension in Jamia campus over BBC documentary screening, 4 detained

The Students’s Federation of India (SFI)has announced that they will screen the controversial documentary series by British Broadcasting Corportaion (BBC) on Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat Riots at the Jamia Milia Ismalia Campus at 6pm today, 25 January. 

The SFI’s Jamia unit has issued a poster informing the documentary will be screened at 6 pm at the MCRC lawn gate no 8.

The Delhi Police informed that four students have been detained for allegedly creating a ruckus outside Jamia Milia Islamia University over the screening of the BBC documentary today. 

According to the police, the commotion took place after the Students Federation of India (SFI), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) announced that it will organise a screening of the controversial documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled ‘India: The Modi Question.’

The action was initiated on the request of the Chief Proctor of the University, after the students had announced the screening of the documentary on the campus at 6 pm.

However, this decision has been opposed by the university administration, who said that no permission has been sought for the screening of the documentary and «we will not allow» it.

Days after India blocked a BBC documentary that examines Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role during 2002 anti-Muslim riots and banned people from sharing it online, authorities on Wednesday were scrambling to halt screenings of the film in colleges and universities and restricting its clips on social media, a move that has been decried by critics as an assault on press freedom.

Further reports have emerged that said that security has been beefed up around the Jamia Milia Islamia campus. This decision was taken keeping in mind the recent row that erupted in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). 

At JNU, students alleged that the power to the student union’s office was deliberately cut to prevent the screening of the controversial documentary series on Narendra Modi. 

Several students, who gathered at the JNU students’ union office for a screening of a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, claimed the varsity administration cut power and internet to stop the event, and staged a protest after stones were thrown on them.

When contacted, a Jamia official said to news agency PTI , «They did not ask for a permission for the screening and we will not allow the screening. If students go out of their way to do something then strict action would be taken against them.»

The screening at the Jamia campus comes a day after a similar screening was organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University during which students claimed that power and internet were suspended and stones were thrown at them.

The government had on Friday directed social media platforms Twitter and YouTube to block links to the documentary titled «India: The Modi Question». The Ministry of External Affairs has trashed the documentary as a «propaganda piece» that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset.

However, opposition parties have slammed the government’s move to block access to the documentary.

The documentary is based on the communal riots that grappled Gujarat in 2002, when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state. The riots that saw the deaths of mainly Muslims started when a train lit on fire in which 59 Hindu passengers lost their lives. 

(With agency inputs)


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