Desh Ki Baat

Despite Ban, BBC Documentary Screened in several universities in India

Section 144 Imposed on DU ahead of BBC Documentary

Despite a ban from the government and opposition from universities, students in several parts of India had screened the BBC documentary about Narendra Modi’s involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots, which has garnered international attention.

The prime minister and his party are blamed for the targeted violence against Muslims in 2002 in the first episode of the BBC documentary series IndiaThe Modi Question. It also refers to a report from the UK government that was previously undisclosed and held Modi fully accountable.

Section 144 was implemented on Friday at the Faculty of the Arts, prohibiting large gatherings, before the scheduled Delhi University showing of the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi, according to news agency ANI.

Although DU proctor Rajni Abi stated that university administrators will not let the documentary’s screening and that they have already written to the police, the NSUI-KSU has, however, organized the screening.

The proctor claimed that no authorization was requested from the university authorities.

“According to information we’ve obtained, NSUI intends to show this documentary to the Arts faculty. There has been no request for authorization. We won’t permit such conduct,” the picture had been banned by the authorities, the proctor added.

University authorities in many universities had refused students permission to screen the documentary and had taken action against those who did. The Union government had ordered YouTube and Twitter to erase video links to the documentary. Students, however, have disregarded these regulations to film the documentary because they claim it depicts a significant moment in India’s history, particularly given that Modi is currently the prime minister.

Right-wing students allegedly threw stones at those gathered to view the documentary on Tuesday at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi after the authorities allegedly shut off the electricity and internet to halt the screening. The students nevertheless continued with the screening, viewing the BBC programme on their laptops and mobile devices.

Before the screening on Wednesday at Jamia Millia Islamia, police detained several student activists, and  police were dispatched to the campus.

According to Sandip Nayak, a senior member of the organization, the All India Students’ Association (AISA), a Left-leaning organization, also decided to play the documentary on the Jadavpur University campus on Friday, news agency PTI previously reported.

Read More- BBC Documentary on PM Modi Sparks Controversy, MEA calls it propaganda

The SFI, the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has also requested for permission to show the documentary on Friday at Presidency University in the state capital of West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS, screened another controversial movie on campus on Thursday called “The Kashmir Files,” while the SFI in Hyderabad organized the documentary’s showing at the University of Hyderabad, according to PTI.

An earlier showing of the BBC documentary on January 21 at the university campus was organized by the Fraternity Movement on UoH’s campus without prior notification or authorization, which prompted the university administration to request a report on the incident in order to take the necessary measures.

Publications like the New York Times, NPR, CBS News, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Fortune, South China Morning Post, Independent, NBC News, Slate, Foreign Policy, and the BBC itself have highlighted this action against students as well as their tenacity.

“Twitter may comply with India’s rules, but university students in New Delhi won’t,” Foreign Policy’s strapline reads.

“The film had already been banned, and the social media posts censored. Now, the students huddled without light or electricity around glowing smartphones to watch what their government had deemed as a subversive foreign propaganda. China? No. They were in India, ostensibly the world’s largest democracy, and watching the BBC,” the Washington Post report starts.

“All told, the remarkable steps taken by the government seemed to reinforce a central point of the BBC series: that the world’s largest democracy was sliding into authoritarianism under Modi, who rose to national power in 2014 and won reelection in 2019 on a Hindu nationalist platform,” the newspaper continues.

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Tamkeenat Rose

A hodophiIe shutterbug and I am here to tell you interesting stories backed with proper information.
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