New Delhi, January 25
Several students, who gathered at the JNU student union office for the screening of a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, claimed that the university administration had cut off electricity and internet to stop the event, and staged a protest after stones were thrown. their.
They claimed they were attacked while watching the documentary on their mobile phones because the screening could not take place. Some have alleged that the assailants were members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a charge which the student body affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has denied.
Later that night, brandishing slogans “Inqlaab Zinadabad” and against the administration of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the protesting students marched to Vasant Kunj police station to lodge a complaint against the “pelters”. .
During the power outage on campus, a JNU administration official, requesting anonymity, told PTI: “There is a major (power) line fault at the university. We are looking into the matter. The engineering department says it will be resolved at the earliest.” There was no immediate official response from the JNU administration to the students’ allegations and claims. He had said in a notice on Monday that the union had not taken its permission for the event and that it should be called off, warning of strict disciplinary action.
However, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) earlier today said in a statement that there was no intention to create any form of discord through the screening of the documentary or film. .
He also asked for clarification from the administration regarding the rules that require prior authorization to be required for the screening of any film or documentary on university premises. and I recognized them.” She added that “in addition, a teacher had recalled some time (informing) that there were goons, wearing masks, around the main door and talking about weapons.” ABVP denied the allegation, saying they were not present at the scene: “We didn’t go to the scene and none of us (the student body) were there. They are just taking our names to get more coverage,” ABVP Delhi Media Officer Ambuj told PTI.
Commenting on the screening which did not take place, AISA National President N Sai Balaji, who was present at the venue, said, “They (the JNU administration) cut off the electricity and internet “. He said the students downloaded the documentary to their cellphones via an app to watch and share.
Asrar Ahmed, who came to the screening, said: “We were watching the documentary peacefully (on our phones) but some people threw stones at us. As it was dark, the people who threw the stones could not be identified. However, a senior police officer said no stone-throwing incident had been reported to the police.
“JNUSU organized a screening of the documentary. However, the JNU administration said that no advance information was given for the event. No such permission is required before such an event. They cut off the power supply and stones were thrown at students who were watching the documentary on their phones,” said student activist Qasim.
“There is an atmosphere of fear on the university campus. We tried to mobilize the students towards the gate but goons were there too. So we decided to march towards the police station to demand that the electricity be restored “, did he declare.
In a statement, AISA-JNU said: “JNUSU had organized the screening of India: The Modi Question today at Teflas at 9 p.m. Just 30 minutes before the scheduled screening time, the power connection to the whole JNU campus has strangely failed.” Nonetheless, students gathered at the screening venue with their laptops and Bluetooth speakers, he said.
“The students had decided to watch the documentary despite the many obstacles. While the students were peacefully watching the documentary on laptops, goons from the ABVP suddenly started throwing rocks and broken glass bottles at the students in black,” he said.
The student body said the students somehow escaped the venue and marched to the main gate in protest. “Even during the peaceful student protest, the ABVP goons repeatedly threw stones and attacked many students. Several female students were harassed amid the growing chaos,” he said.
On Friday, the government had ordered social media platforms Twitter and YouTube to block links to the documentary titled “India: The Modi Question”. The Foreign Office called the documentary a “piece of propaganda” that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset.
However, opposition parties criticized the government’s decision to block access to the documentary.
The JNU administration, in a notice on Monday, said the union had not taken its permission for the event and that it should be canceled as it could “disturb peace and harmony”.
The university in a notice on Monday said: “It has come to the attention of the administration that a group of students has published in the name of JNUSU a brochure for the screening of a documentary or a film (entitled) “India: The Modi Question” scheduled for January 24, 2023, at 9:00 p.m. at Teflas. No prior authorization for this event was withdrawn from the JNU administration, he said.
The two-part BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ claims it investigated some aspects of the 2002 Gujarat riots when Modi was the state’s chief minister. The documentary was not screened in India.