Delhi University Students Detained Ahead of Screening of BBC's Docu on Modi

DU proctor, Rajni Abbi said that no permission was sought from the university administration for the screening.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Hours before BBC's documentary India: The Modi Question was scheduled to be screened at Delhi University's Arts Faculty, Delhi police imposed section 144 (banning large gatherings) on Friday, 27 January.

The screening was organised by student organisations Bhim Army Student Federation (BASF) on Friday. At least 24 people -- mostly students -- who were protesting outside the Arts Faculty, were detained by the police.

"First the guards were not allowing us to enter the Arts Faculty. Somehow we entered, and the moment we opened our laptop, the guards came and broke our projector and tore the curtain for screening. Then they dragged me out and then the police detained me and some other students," claimed Ashutosh, the president of BASF DU unit.

He also claimed that he is currently at Civil Lines police station in Delhi under detention.

"At around 4 pm today, some 20 persons came outside Arts Faculty gate to screen the banned BBC documentary. As it can cause disturbance of peace and tranquility in the area, they were asked to disperse from there. When they did not, they were peacefully detained. A total of 24 persons were detained. Situation is normal at present," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi.

DU proctor Rajni Abbi said that no permission was sought from the university administration for the screening.

"Identity cards of those who were detained will be checked, and it will be determined if they are DU students. If they are from outside, police will take action, and if they're from DU, appropriate action will be taken against them," she added, as quoted by news agency ANI.


'Power Cut' in Ambedkar University

A screening of the same documentary was also oragnised by the Students' Federation of India (SFI) unit of Ambedkar University, Delhi, on Friday.

The screening was organised "to resist the censorship and the arbitrary detaining of students in different campuses such as Jamia and JNU," read a statement released by SFI.

The SFI note further read, "Students had been trying to book a room to screen the movie for the past week but the administration did not give permission. It was thus decided that the documentary will be screened in the open in the canteen."

SFI President, Nadia, alleged to The Quint that “around 150-200 students came for the screening, but then the electricity was cut off. Students then decided to watch the film on their own phones and laptops in small groups."

She also claimed that "people from the university administration also tried to snatch phones from the students who were watching the documentary. But they were not successful as the students outnumbered them."

"Some members of a right-wing student organisation also started playing bhajans at the venue," she added.


On Tuesday, 24 January, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students had also alleged that the electricity was cut off at campus when they were scheduled to screen the documentary.

On Wednesday, 25 January, police also detained 13 students from outside Delhi's Jamia Milia Islamia university, hours before the screening of the documentary. Some were let out of the lock-up on 26 January.

Nivedya, vice-president of SFI Jamia unit, had alleged to The Quint, "I was physically and verbally abused by the proctorial office. My phone was snatched around 1.15 pm and it has been more than 24 hours since I don't have my phone with me, which is straight up violation of my human rights."

"I was holding on to my phone but after five minutes of struggle, they managed to take my phone from me. When I asked the concerned official for the phone, I was asked to go to the proctor's office. As soon as I stepped out of the campus, I was detained by Delhi police and we were taken to Fatehpur Beri police station, I was basically tricked into detention," she alleged.

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Topics:  BBC documentary   Delhi University   DU 

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