Despite government criticism of the documentary, a number of student organisations have scheduled screenings of 'India: The Modi Question' on campuses across the country. The two-part documentary looks back at the 2002 Gujarat riots and claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the state's chief minister at the time, was “directly responsible for a climate of impunity” that contributed to the carnage.
The Centre snubbed the documentary as "propaganda" and said the documentary lacked "objectivity" and showed a "continued colonial mindset".
While Opposition leaders have criticised government censorship, Anil K Antony, the son of former defence minister AK Antony, on Wednesday, said that he was quitting the party because he was asked to take down a tweet where he had criticised the BBC documentary, differing from the stand of other party leaders. "I have resigned from my roles in @incindia @INCKerala.Intolerant calls to retract a tweet, by those fighting for free speech. I refused," he wrote on Twitter.
Anil had tweeted on Tuesday saying, "Despite large differences with BJP, I think those in 🇮🇳 placing views of BBC, a 🇬🇧 state sponsored channel with a long history of 🇮🇳 prejudices,and of Jack Straw, the brain behind the Iraq war, over 🇮🇳 institutions is setting a dangerous precedence,will undermine our sovereignty."
Although it wasn't officially available in India, the documentary's first instalment, which was released on January 17, had been posted to YouTube and circulated on Twitter. The Center issued orders to Twitter and YouTube on Friday to remove links to the BBC documentary. The Ministry of Information and Broadcast issued the directions by invoking powers under the IT Rules of 2021.
Despite the Centre's criticism of the documentary, it has reportedly been screened across several universities in the country. Here is a list of universities where the documentary has been screened:
In Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union on Tuesday scheduled a screening of the BBC documentary on campus. But half an hour before the documentary was to be screened, there was a power blackout on campus for around three hours. Students have alleged that this was a deliberate attempt to stop the documentary from being screened, The Indian Express reported.
This was after the university administration had advised students to cancel the programme claiming it would disturb the "peace and harmony" of the university.
Mayukh Biswas, General Secretary of the Students' Federation Of India (SFI), alleged that members of the ABVP attacked students at the screening. The documentary was screened on laptops and mobile phones after the electricity was disconnected. Reports said that stones were hurled at students who were watching the film.
Jamia Millia Islamia
SFI also scheduled a screening of the BBC documentary on the campus of the Jamia Millia Islamia university, Delhi on Wednesday at 6 pm.
However, the university administration issued a notice on Tuesday warning students to not hold public gatherings or meetings without prior permission from the administration.
The documentary was screened across university campuses and colleges in Kerala, reported The Hindu. Student organisations allied to the CPI(M) and the Congress also held public screenings in public places, the report said,
BJP workers protested on the streets of Thiruvananthapuram over the screenings in Poojapura and Manaveeyam areas of the city. Matrubhumi reported that the Kerala police booked BJP workers for unlawful assembly and traffic disruption.
A students' group at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) organised the screening of the BBC documentary on campus on Saturday night. The Hindu reported that ABVP lodged a complaint with the vice chancellor as they sought action against the organisers of the screening. The report said that the security officials tried stopping the screening since no permission was sought for the screening. However, the student group, called the Fraternity group, refused to stop it.
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