Jamia Millias students detained, riot police at univ over BBC film screening

Jamia Millia's students detained, riot police at univ over BBC film screening

The police detained three members of a left-wing students’ union of Delhi’s reputed Jamia Millia Islamia university on Wednesday (January 25) because the mass communication department was planning to screen the controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A screening was supposed to be held this evening at the university in south-east Delhi. Classes have also been suspended. The police wearing blue riot gear and vans with tear-gas cannons landed at the university as well.

Earlier, the authorities at Jamia had said in an order that they will not allow any unauthorised gatherings on the campus. This was done after the Students Federation of India announced the screening on Facebook.

The documentary, based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 riots, has stirred up plenty of controversy. Taking umbrage to the film’s content, the government has banned the film and asked social media companies to remove the links to the documentary.

Also read: BBC documentary to be screened in Kerala, BJP seeks CM’s intervention

A similar screening was organised by a section of students at Jawaharlal University but the Internet and electricity suddenly went off in the students’ union office. However, the crowd which had come to view the documentary sat outside in the dark to watch it on their phone screens and their laptops. The event ended with a protest march after the viewing.

JNU authorities had warned that disciplinary action would be taken if the documentary was screened, saying the move might disturb peace and harmony on the campus.

While PM Modi’s government has labelled the two-part documentary series ‘India: The Modi Question’ as a “propaganda piece”, the Opposition has criticised the move by the government to ban it.

Also read: India dubs BBC documentary on Gujarat riots a propaganda piece

Modi government’s argument is that he has been cleared of any wrongdoing by investigations into the Gujarat riots. Last year, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against his exoneration in one of the cases linked to the killings.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the three-day violence in Gujarat in 2002. The state police were charged with not intervening and trying to stop the riots that began after a train coach carrying pilgrims was burnt in Godhra, killing 59 people.

Also watch: BBC’s Modi documentary: ‘Ban is violation of fundamental rights’

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