Students screen BBC documentary defying authorities’ warnings
Students have been continuing to organise collective viewing of the BBC documentary India: The Modi Question on campuses defying authorities’ warnings of action, with the Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, among the latest to witness the trend.
While the Tata Institute administration has yet to act on its threats of punishment, students said the Central University of Rajasthan had suspended 10 students for a mass viewing of the film.
The Progressive Students’ Forum at the Tata Institute had on Friday announced a viewing of the film on the campus on Saturday, with the students’ union extending support.
The institute authorities issued a notification on Friday denying permission for the event, asking students to stay away from it, and threatening punishment for defiance.
A research scholar at the institute said that nearly 200 students defied the warning to gather at a public place on the campus and watch the documentary together on laptops and personal mobile phones.
The institute informed police, who were stationed outside the campus. Members of RSS student arm ABVP held a protest outside the campus.
“No action has been taken (against the students by the institute) so far,” the scholar said.
A student of the Central University of Rajasthan said a group of students, without affiliation to any organisation, had watched the film together on their mobile phones on the campus on Thursday.
The administration called the police, who entered the campus. Soon, ABVP members arrived at the site and began sloganeering. The students stopped the viewing midway.
The university later suspended 10 students from classrooms and hostels for 14 days. Delhi University has set up a committee to inquire into efforts by some students to screen the film on Friday. The event was disrupted by security guards and the police.
The Centre has asked YouTube and Twitter to block access to the documentary — which looks at Narendra Modi’s role as Gujarat chief minister during the 2002 riots — but has not banned the film.
The CPIML Liberation-backed All India Students Association has issued a statement asking students to fight back against university authorities’ attempts to prevent public viewing of the film on campuses.