BBC Documentary Screening: Students detained, ruckus at universities; story so far

BBC Documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ screened, planned in DU, JNU, JMI, Jadavpur University, Ambedkar University, UoH, Presidency University, etc.


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students across universities detained for screening of BBC Documentary on PM Modi (Official Twitter Account of SFI)students across universities detained for screening of BBC Documentary on PM Modi (Official Twitter Account of SFI)

Vagisha Kaushik | January 28, 2023 | 03:03 PM IST

NEW DELHI: From suspension of classes and power cut to police involvement, the academic environment in colleges and universities across the country has been disrupted and students have landed in the soup owing to the screening of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ in college premises which talks about the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. Several students were detained while others were attacked for attempting to watch the banned BBC documentary on PM Modi. Today, students of Madras University screened the documentary with laptop and speakers despite opposition from the university authorities.

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students claimed that they were attacked during the screening of the BBC documentary and staged a protest. They also claimed that university administration cut power supply and internet in order to stop the screening which was organised by JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU).

13 Jamia Millia Islamia students were detained for organising a screening of a controversial BBC documentary on Wednesday and have not been released by police yet, the Students Federation of India claimed. Four students were earlier detained for allegedly creating a ruckus outside the university campus prior to screening.

24 students from Delhi University’s Arts faculty were also detained on Friday for planning the screening of the banned documentary. Delhi police has also imposed Section 144 in the campus. The National Student Union of India (NSUI) had 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 Arts Faculty at 5 pm.

The protesting students at Ambedkar University accused the university of calling the security personnel as they attempted to screen the BBC documentary. The police officials, however, said they were visiting all college and university campuses in the district to ensure peace in the area.

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At Presidency University, high drama was seen at the College Street campus on Friday as there was a power outage for some time during the screening of the documentary. Over 50 students of the university watched the controversial film. The screening began at 4.30 pm but there was another power cut at around 5.30 pm. Students took out a protest march in the campus. However, the electricity was restored at 6pm and the screening resumed.

On the contrary, more than 100 students at Jadavpur University have reportedly watched the controversial BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots organised by the Left student's body. Police or institute authorities did not interfere with the screening on Thursday. The screening was also organised at the University of Hyderabad which prompted the University authorities to seek a report on the incident for taking necessary action.

The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) has been behind the screening at most of the universities. The students’ body earlier said it will not accept "censorship" and that it has decided to screen the documentary in all states.

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