Press Trust of India|Jan 21, 2022
JNU 'advises' cancellation of 'Ram ke Naam' screening; 'Won't back out', says JNUSU
The JNU administration has released a circular advising the students to refrain from screening the national award-winning documentary
NEW DELHI: The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration has "advised" the students union, JNUSU, to cancel screening of the documentary, Ram Ke Naam, on campus. The JNUSU, however, had said it "will not back out at any cost"
Made by Anand Patwardhan in 1992, the document tracks Vishwa Hindu Parishad's campaign to build a Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid. It is scheduled for screening at the JNUSU office building, TEFLAS, at 9 pm tonight.
The circular from the JNU registrar says that the students had not been granted permission for the screening. “This is to emphasise that such an unauthorized activity may disturb communal harmony and peaceful environment of the university campus,” says the circular.
The circular also warns of "strict disciplinary action as per the university rules" if the screening is not cancelled.
“The students are instructed not to get provoked by this pamphlet, which is unauthorised and unwarranted,” read the circular.
"Ram Ke Naam shows the truth, what is BJP doing in this country and how communal hatred is spread in this secular country by the right-wing fundamentalists," wrote JNUSU's last president, Aishe Ghosh. "Secondly, the JNUSU office belongs to the JNU students' community and not the administration. So why should we seek permission from them?”, read the Facebook post by Ghosh.
The JNSU, in reply, noted that the film in question has been awarded the National Award for Documentary Filmmaking and aired on national television for its advocacy of secularism and exposure to communalism. "Thus to say that it shall incite communalism points to the flawed and communal mindset of the JNU administration itself. Further, the JNUSU Office falls under the jurisdiction of the JNUSU and thus the JNU Administration’s claims of the event being ‘unauthorised and unwarranted’ are baseless and without legitimacy", read the statement by JNUSU
According to the student union, the JNU administration's warning to those students advocating for secularism and constitutional ethos is shameful. JNUSU also demanded that the administration should refrain from compromising on secular and democratic values the university has historically stood by. It called for appropriate action from the administration on the communal elements of disruption.
JNUSU iterated that it will not cancel the screening. The union further called upon all secular and progressive students to join the screening in large numbers and participate in ensuring a democratic campus.
The film also explores the communal violence that the Ram Mandir campaign triggered. The film has won several national and international awards including the National Film Award for the Best Investigative Documentary in 1992
Previously, there were efforts from students of central universities like the University of Hyderabad (UoH) to screen Ram ke Naam. But the screening of the documentary at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) on August 20, 2019, was interrupted and the organisers were detained by police.
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