BBC Modi documentary screenings: High-tension in top universities; many held
Tensions surrounding the controversial BBC documentary about PM Narendra Modi remain high across the country, with students at several universities attempting to screen it despite a ban. Numerous student organizations and political parties have held screenings in Delhi, Hyderabad, Kerala, and Puducherry, among others. Many students were detained in Delhi as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre took a tough stance on the issue.
Why does this story matter?
- The BBC recently released a documentary, India: The Modi Question, investigating Modi's role during the 2002 Gujarat riots, which killed over 1,000 people, as the state's chief minister.
- After its release, the central government banned the documentary and termed it colonial propaganda to push a "discredited narrative."
- In defiance of the ban, various groups and opposition parties announced the screening of the controversial documentary.
Power outage, 'Azadi' slogans at Kolkata's Presidency University
Presidency University, Kolkata, witnessed high drama on Friday after a power outage during the screening of the documentary, Hindustan Times reported. It was organized by the left-wing Students Federation of India (SFI)—which hosted a similar show at Jadavpur University on Thursday. The SFI held protests and shouted slogans like "Halla Bol" and "We want azadi from communalism, hatred, dictatorship," before the power was restored.
Screening halted in DU, AUD in Delhi
According to News18, the screening of the BBC documentary was halted at Delhi University (DU) and Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) on Friday. A similar unsuccessful effort to screen it was made earlier at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). At DU's Arts Faculty, the National Students' Union of India's (NSUI) screening program was canceled after the Delhi Police arrested several students.
Nearly 24 students arrested in DU; Section 144 imposed
After dozens of students gathered outside DU's Faculty of Arts on Friday to watch the controversial BBC documentary, the Delhi Police arrested 24 students and implemented Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) prohibiting gatherings, per Statesman. Students claimed that the screening could not take place because the management of the government-run university turned off the electricity.
Watch: Unique screening event by SFI at Madras University
Students affiliated to the SFI watch the BBC Documentary on Prime Minister Modi inside the Madras University campus in chennai #BBCDocumentary pic.twitter.com/JIwW15pUf0— Poornima Murali (@nimumurali) January 27, 2023
Classwork suspended in Jamia Milia as documentary screening foiled
On Wednesday, Jamia Millia Islamia University became the center of a commotion when the SFI's screening program was foiled by the varsity and the police. Several students were also arrested on campus. The university also suspended classes at the request of students and staff members. Earlier, Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar stated that the university "completely foiled" certain students' attempts to organize a screening.
ABVP held counter screening of 'The Kashmir Files' at HCU
The SFI also hosted a screening of the BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots at the University of Hyderabad on Thursday (UoH). In response, students of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) held a screening of The Kashmir Files (TKF) on the university campus. TKF, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, chronicles the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir.