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Dozen students detained after bid to screen Modi documentary at Jamia campus

This comes a day after high drama ensued at Jawaharlal Nehru University over the same documentary. On Tuesday night, the power went off in JNU at 8.30 pm, half an hour before the proposed screening.

jamia students protests, bbc modi documentarySecurity personnel at the Jamia Millia Islamia campus during SFI's protest against the detention of four activists over the proposed screening of a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)
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The Delhi Police detained at least a dozen students from outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university after the Students Federation of India (SFI) said they would screen the BBC documentary titled India: The Modi Question. Some of those detained were raising slogans outside the campus when the police picked them up.

This comes a day after high drama ensued at Jawaharlal Nehru University over the same documentary. On Tuesday night, the power went off in JNU at 8.30 pm, half an hour before the proposed screening. Later, students who tried watching the film on their phones and laptops alleged they were pelted with stones.

Confirming the detention, DCP (Southeast) Esha Pandey said: “A screening for a BBC documentary was to be organised by a group of Jamia students inside the university today, which was not allowed by the administration of the University. 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.”

On Wednesday, the Delhi Police beefed up security at Jamia university, with deployment of local staff and paramilitary personnel. Police had also called for anti-riot gear and stood guard at almost all gates.

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Many of the students, who said they were not planning to watch the film anyway, complained they were not allowed to enter the college after noon.

Sadia, a BA student, claimed, “They didn’t allow us to enter the college. Many of us wanted to take our admit cards and for exams but were asked to leave. Four students were picked up around noon when they raised slogans against the police.”

Around 3 pm, police detained seven-eight more students and rounded them into police cars. Senior police officers refused to give a statement about the detentions.

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Nishant, another student at Jamia, said, “How does it matter if a group of students wishes to see the documentary? The government and police have created so much hype for no reason. The SFI had planned the documentary but the college didn’t allow it and locked the lawn area. Now, police are here…. It’s all unnecessary.”

In a statement, the university stated that no gathering of students or screening of the film will be allowed on the campus. Disciplinary action will be taken against those who don’t follow the directions, said the officials.

SFI had planned to screen the documentary on campus around 6 pm on Wednesday but the police blocked the entry of protesters and students.

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The SFI claimed four of their members were among those detained. “They have been taken to different police stations. We are not doing anything wrong. The documentary has not been officially banned,” said the SFI Delhi state committee.

First published on: 25-01-2023 at 19:48 IST
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