More than a dozen students, including members of a leftist group, were detained by police and classes suspended. At Delhi’s prestigious Jamia Millia Islamia University on Wednesday for planning to screen a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening. Student activists, seen waving banners and chanting slogans against the crackdown, were chased away by the police.
Police in blue riot gear and vans with tear-gas cannons arrive at college gates in southeast Delhi. Only exam appearing students are being allowed to enter and others are being turned away. In an order issued on Tuesday, Jamia authorities said they will not allow any unauthorized gathering. On the campus after the Students Federation of India (SFI). The student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), announced the screening on Facebook.
The documentary, based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure. As chief minister of Gujarat during the 2002 riots, caused a storm with the government blocking the film and social media companies removing links to it. Opponents denounced the move as blatant censorship.
A similar screening organized by some students of Jawaharlal Nehru University last evening ran into trouble. With both the internet and electricity at the student union office shut.
Hundreds gathered outside in the dark to watch the documentary on phone screens or on their laptops, and the evening ended with a protest march. JNU authorities had warned of disciplinary action if the documentary was screened, saying the move could disrupt peace and harmony on campus.
“The students were not doing anything illegal. The documentary was not officially banned. Dissent against the government is a right recognized in the Constitution. If these basic qualities of democracy are denied in places of higher education where we are supposed to teach.
Jamia Millia Islamia, in a statement, said, “Students will not be allowed to hold any meetings/gatherings or screen any films on the campus. Without the permission of the competent authority, failing which strict disciplinary action. Will be taken against the organizers.” To take all possible measures to prevent self-interested individuals/organizations from disrupting the peaceful academic environment of the University.
Prime Minister Modi’s government has labeled the two-part documentary series ‘India:
The Modi Question’ as a “propaganda piece”. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Gujarat riots inquiry. Last year, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against his acquittal in a case related to the murder.
More than 1,000 people were killed in three days of violence in Gujarat in 2002. And the state police faced serious charges for not doing enough to stop the riots that broke out after a train carriage carrying pilgrims to Godhra was torched, killing 59.