BBC’s docu fuels unrest in varsities

| | New Delhi
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BBC’s docu fuels unrest in varsities

Thursday, 26 January 2023 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

BBC’s docu fuels unrest in varsities

The  proposed screening of the controversial BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ became a major flashpoint between students and the police at  Jamia Millia Islamia University in the national Capital on Wednesday.

The  police  first detained four students and later  many more when the students led a protest to demand their release, the   Students’ Federation of India (SFI) claimed.

 The students of the Punjab University also organised the screening of  the BBC documentary  which was stalled midway after authorities intervened. In a tweet, the Congress-affiliated  students wing  NSUI said “@NSUIChandigarh organised a screenplay of the BBC Modi documentary at Panjab University. The state president and many students watched the truth about democracy killers.”

  The SFI’s bid to screen the documentary at the Jamia campus comes a day after a similar event was organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University during which students claimed that power and Internet were suspended and stones hurled at them. The campus witnessed heavy deployment of police and the anti-riot units Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel.

 Secretary of SFI Delhi State committee, Pritish Menon said the police detained the protestors who had gathered there.

   “We were about to begin the demonstration but they were detained before that. They were taken to the police station,” Menon said.

 The SFI’s Jamia unit had released a poster announcing that the documentary would be screened at the MCRC lawn Gate Number 8 at 6 PM.

 The police said it detained four students after the SFI announced its plan.

 The university administration said the screening of the controversial documentary would not be allowed.

They said they were taking all measures to prevent people and organisations with a "vested interest to destroy the peaceful academic atmosphere of the university". In a statement, the varsity said no permission had been sought for the screening of the documentary and it would not be allowed. "It has come to the knowledge of the university administration that some students belonging to a political organisation have circulated a poster about screening of a controversial documentary film on the university campus today," it said in the statement.

Earlier, the university had issued a memorandum/circular asserting that no meeting/gathering of students or screening of any film shall be allowed on the campus without permission from the competent authority.

Strict disciplinary action shall be taken against organisers in case of any violation, it said.

"The university is taking all possible measures to prevent people/organisations having a vested interest to destroy the peaceful academic atmosphere of the university," the varsity further said in its statement.

Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar on Wednesday called SFI "a small student group with no following" and accused it of disturbing peace on the campus as the group announced screening of a recent BBC documentary India: The Modi Question on 2002 Godhra riots on the campus.

"We do not want any disturbance on the campus. We desire to keep the peace and harmony in the university where students are studying and giving exams," Akhtar said.

"A small group like Students' Federation of India (SFI), which has no following, is holding protests. We do not approve of this kind of behaviour. Their aim is to disturb peace and harmony on the campus.

At no cost I will allow this kind of behaviour under my watch," she said. Asked whether any action will be taken against protesting students, she said they will ask for a report and "take action against students, if necessary."

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