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NEW DELHI: Following the abortive bid to screen the BBC documentary on India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia, similar efforts were halted at Delhi University and Ambedkar University Delhi last Friday.
A scheduled screening of the documentary by the National Students’ Union of India at DU’s Art Faculty was disrupted when the students gathered there were detained by Delhi Police. DU proctor Rajni Abbi told TOI [Times of India], “The students had not sought permission from us for the event, so we informed the cops. Time and again, we have issued notifications asking students to seek prior permission before organising any event on the campus. The screening was being organised for political reasons and to create disruptions.”
Abbi was among the university officials at the screening site urging students to disperse from the area.
The All India Students’ Association also claimed that a screening organised by them was disrupted and alleged that student activists were “thrashed” by security personnel on the campus. Abhigya, AISA Delhi president, said, “Students everywhere are asking: What are you afraid of Mr. Modi?
“From JNU to Jamia to AUD to DU, we are witnessing a complete militarisation of educational campuses. The blocking of the screening is a blocking of our right to free media and information. This police-led violence is an assault on our democratic campus. We want to tell the government that this documentary will reach all students of DU despite its police and goons.”
A Delhi Police officer said, “Around 4pm today, about 20 people came to the Arts Faculty to screen the banned BBC documentary. As this could disturb peace and tranquillity in the area, they were asked to disperse. When they did not, we peacefully detained 24 people.”
Meanwhile, the Students’ Federation of India also organised viewing at Ambedkar University Delhi amid police presence. The students’ organisation said that because the administration had denied permission to screen the documentary, the participants had watched it on laptops.
“SFI activists had been trying to book a room to screen the movie for the past week but the administration did not give us permission,” a member of SFI said.
“To prevent them from organising the screening, students were harassed at the university gate ostensibly to ensure security on the campus. When over a hundred students joined the screening, the administration deliberately cut off the electricity. The students then decided to watch the documentary on their own phones.”
AUD officials did not respond to TOI’s calls and messages on the matter. (Times of India)