Security beefed up at Delhi's Jamia over BBC documentary screening, several students detained

The university administration also issued a statement, saying no permission has been sought for the screening of the documentary and it will not be allowed.

Published: 25th January 2023 03:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2023 07:33 PM   |  A+A-


A heavy deployment of the police outside the Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police has detained over 70 students who were gathered at Jamia Millia Islamia to protest against the detention of four activists over the proposed screening of a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Students' Federation of India said.

There was no immediate response from the police.

Heavy deployment of police personnel was seen outside the campus where the students were gathered. Personnel from the Rapid Action Force were deployed at the gate.

Pritish Menon, secretary of the Students' Federation of India's (SFI) Delhi state committee, said the police detained the protestors who had gathered there. "We were about to begin the demonstration but they were detained before that. They were taken to the police station," he said.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi police detained at least four students associated with the Student Federation of India (SFI) after the student body announced a plan to screen the documentary today at 6 pm.

According to the SFI, the students who were detained by the police were identified as Azeez, Nivedya, Abhiram, and Tejas. "Azeez has been taken to Sukhdev vihar police station. Nivedya was manhandled by the Security guards. They tried to snatch her mobile phone when she was trying to record the situation," SFI said.

Meanwhile, there has been no official response from the Delhi Police over the arrests. The University Administration has also asked its students not to participate in any gathering or screening of a documentary.

"It has come to the knowledge of the university administration that some students belonging to a political organization (SFI) have circulated a poster about the screening of a controversial documentary film on the university campus today. The university administration has earlier issued a memorandum and once again reiterates that no meeting or gathering of students or screening of any film shall be allowed on the campus without the permission of the competent authority," a statement from the varsity read.

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It further warned the students of strict disciplinary action if failed to adhere to the directives. "The university is taking all possible measures to prevent people and organisations having vested interest to destroy the peaceful academic atmosphere of the university," the statement added.

The SFI attempt to screen the documentary at the Jamia campus comes a day after a similar event was organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The left-leaning JNU students' union (JNUSU) tried to screen the same documentary. However, the screening could not be held. According to JNUSU, the administration snapped power and internet connections at the student party's office. Stone pelting was also reported at the JNU campus when the documentary was being screened.

However, the JNUSU claimed the screen could not be held after power and internet were suspended by the administration. Stone pelting was also reported at the JNU campus when the documentary was being screened.

On Saturday, the Indian government used emergency powers under India's controversial information technology laws to block the documentary from being shared on social media. The Ministry of External Affairs called the documentary a "propaganda piece" that lacks objectivity and reflects a "colonial mindset."

The British broadcaster's programme alleges that the Hindu nationalist Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time, ordered police to turn a blind eye to the violence that left at least 1,000 people dead, most of them minority Muslims.

ALSO READ | Campuses push back on BBC documentary on PM Modi

(With additional inputs from PTI, AFP)


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