BBC Documentary Row: 24 Detained, Section 144 at Delhi University arts faculty
Ahead of the planned screening of the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi at Delhi University, Section 144 was imposed banning large gatherings at the Faculty of Arts on Friday, news agency ANI reported. The screening has been arranged by the NSUI-KSU though DU proctor Rajni Abbi said the university authorities will not allow the screening of the documentary and they have already written to the police. No permission was sought from the university authorities, the proctor said. “We have received information that NSUI is planning to screen this documentary at the Arts faculty… No permission has been sought for it. We will not allow such behaviour,” the proctor said, adding that the film had been banned by the government.
“At around 4pm today, some 20 persons came outside the Arts faculty gate to screen the banned BBC documentary. As it can cause disturbance of peace and tranquillity in the area, they were asked to disperse from there. When they did not, they were peacefully detained,” DCP North said adding that the situation is peaceful now. A total of 24 were detained from the campus.
On the detentions, the proctor said they will check the identity cards of those who have been detained by the police to ascertain whether they are DU students. “If they are from outside, police will take action and if they are from DU, appropriate action will be taken against them,” the proctor said.
This comes amid unrest being reported from several universities over the same issue: JNU witnessed stone pelting on Tuesday after electricity was allegedly disrupted to stop the screening; Jamia on Wednesday. Jadavpur University in Kolkata screened the documentary on Thursday.
From the arena of national politics, the BBC documentary entered students’ politics after the JNU incident on Tuesday.
JNU students’ union claimed the university authorities disconnected electricity ahead of the screening forcing them to screen the documentary on laptops in the torch light. An incident of stone-pelting was reported from the campus on Tuesday.
After the JNU incident, Left and Congress-backed students’ unions called for the screening of the much-debated documentary leading to unrest on campuses.
Based on the then UK government’s secret investigation, the documentary is critical of Narendra Modi’s role during the Gujarat riots in 2002. The two-part series is banned from screening in India and the government wrote to Twitter and YouTube asking them to block content sharing the link to the documentary.
Students’ union of Delhi’s Ambedkar University too planned to screen the documentary at 1pm but it could not be held as planned as the power supply was disconnected, the students’ union alleged.