Hours Before BBC Modi Documentary Screening, Jamia Students Detained

Heavy security was deployed around the campus, and students were asked to vacate the premises on Wednesday.

What We Know
3 min read

Hours before the screening of BBC's documentary 'India: The Modi Question' at Delhi's Jamia Milia Islamia university, heavy security was deployed around the campus and students were asked to vacate the premises on Wednesday, 25 January.

The screening was being organised by Jamia's unit of Students' Federation of India (SFI) at 6 pm. Police also confirmed that a total of 13 students were also detained allegedly for 'creating ruckus.'

The SFI, on Thursday, 26 January, claimed that the some of the students who were detained on Wednesday, were kept in the police station overnight and released on Thursday.

When The Quint visited the campus on Wednesday afternoon, entry to the campus was barred and all the canteens inside it were being shut.

Shaba Manzoor, first-year student, MA Convergent Journalism, told The Quint, “We had our regular class today. We went out for lunch because all the canteens were shut but when we returned the gates were closed too. We were not allowed inside."

Shaba Manzoor added on Wednesday, "We tried to negotiate with the guards that our attendance will be affected but they did not listen to us. Our professor is taking the class at the moment with some students attending but we are not able to get in. The guards are just telling us to leave without mentioning a proper reason."

The guards at the gate said that, "We have orders from higher authorities to keep the gates shut."

Heavy security was deployed around the campus, and students were asked to vacate the premises on Wednesday.
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In a statement release by Jamia, the varsity said, "The university administration had earlier issued a memorandum/circular and once again reiterates that no meeting/gathering of students or screening of any film shall be allowed in the campus without the permission of the competent authority, failing which strict disciplinary action shall be taken against the organisers."

"The university is taking all possible measures to prevent people/organisations having vested interest to destroy the peaceful academic atmosphere of the university," the statement added.


13 Students Detained

"In the morning, few of our SFI activists, who had come to attend the classes, were forcefully detained by the proctorial staff and then the police. We don't really known where they were taken by the police. When this happened, we called for a protest at 4 pm on Gate number 7. When we were marching towards, the police started pushing the students, and later detained some of them," SFI president Sanam Husain told The Quint.

The Quint later learned that Nivedya, one of the detained students, was released around Wednesday evening.

"The University administration informed the police that some students were creating ruckus on the streets and therefore a total of 13 students were detained around 4 pm to ensure peace in the area," the police said.

'Why is Modi Scared?': Jamia Professor

A Jamia professor, on condition of anonymity lamented to The Quint, "The documentary must have some valid information, which is why it is not being allowed to be screened. (Narendra) Modi is the Prime Minister of the country and a powerful man across the globe as well, why is he scared? If students want to screen a documentary why is he having a problem with it?"

The professor claimed that Jamia administration is "under the control of the government... Not a single protest can be held without the government interfering through the guidelines. The proctor or the Vice Chancellor immediately alerts the police if a protest is being organised or held. In turn, police has created an environment of fear around Jamia campus."

Another student, on condition of anonymity, told The Quint, "This morning, I saw multiple police vans and heavy deployment around Jamia campus -- from police personnel to Border Security Force (BSF) officers. I couldn't enter campus."

He added, "I think it's because of Republic Day as well as the documentary screening inside campus... I don't think the authorities will let the screening take place. Members of SFI were detained in front of me. They told the students that they were taking them to the proctor's office but once they came outside, they were all detained."

Power Cut Amid Documentary Screening in JNU

This comes a day after students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) alleged that the electricity supply on campus was cut off at the venue where the university's students' union (JNUSU) had scheduled a screening of the contentious BBC documentary.

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