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Ishita Ranganath|Mar 22, 2023
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police on Friday detained 24 students from the Delhi University's Arts Faculty for planning to screen the controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Godhra riots, a senior police official said. The action comes days after a similar ruckus at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia over the documentary's screening.
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Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi said, "Around 4 pm, some 20 people came outside the Arts Faculty gate to screen the banned BBC documentary. As it can cause disturbance of peace and tranquility in the area, they were asked to disperse from there. "When they did not, they were peacefully detained. A total of 24 people were detained."
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Earlier in the day, the varsity authorities wrote to Delhi Police about the proposed screening. Delhi University Proctor Rajni Abbi said they would not allow the screening and stressed that the students' outfits had not sought the administration's permission. There was heavy police deployment at the north campus after students' outfits gave a call to screen the documentary.
The police have also banned large gatherings on north campus. When asked, another official said Section 144 was imposed on the campus in December. "Section 144 was imposed in December till February 28 to prevent any law and order problems at the university," the official told PTI. The Congress-affiliated National Students' Union has announced a screening of the documentary at 4 pm on the north campus while the Bhim Army Students' Federation said it would hold a screening outside the varsity's Arts Faculty at 5 pm.
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Delhi Police personnel entered the Ambedkar University campus to stop Students' Federation of India (SFI) activists from screening the controversial documentary, several students alleged, even as the outfit made alternative arrangements to watch it on phones and laptops. Police officials, however, said they were visiting all college and university campuses in the district to ensure peace and tranquility in the area.
The Left-affiliated SFI alleged that the screening could not be held as the administration of the government-run varsity disconnected power supply but a QR code with a link to the film was shared with students so that they could watch it on their personal devices.
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Jamia Millia Islamia became the centre of a kerfuffle on Wednesday after the SFI's plans to organise a screening of the documentary were thwarted by the varsity and the police. Jawaharlal Nehru University also witnessed a ruckus and protests over the screening on Tuesday.
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