With their eyes on the upcoming students’ union elections at JNU, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) Monday night screened on campus a ‘documentary’ on the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, which they claim portrays the true picture of what transpired in the state. Directed by journalist Vivek Sinha, the 36-minute-long documentary titled ‘Muzaffarnagar, Aakhir Kyon?’ tries to understand “why the riots took place, and concludes that it started with a case of sexual harassment which was deliberately communalised”.
Introducing the film to 100-odd students, Sinha said,“This is what happened on August 27, 2013, when Shahnawaz threatened Gaurav and Sachin’s sister that he would kidnap her. Ab Shahnawaz Musalman hai toh hum kuchh nahi kar sakte iss baat mein. Agar Gaurav aur Sachin Hindu the toh isme kisi patrakar ki galti nahi hai. Haan, par patrakar me itni himmat honi chahiye ki sach ko dikhaye ki ek Hindu ladki ko ek Musalman ladke ne utha le jaane ki dhamki di.”
“Agar aapke ghar me ma hai, behen hai, beti hai, bhabhi hai… kya aap bardasht karenge ki woh bahar nikle toh koi unpe chheentakashi kare, chhed-chaad kare, gangrape bhi karle ya utha le jaane ki dhamki de. Agar koi aisa kehta hai, toh aap kya karenge uss dauran? Koi aadmi kaise react karega,” he said. Sinha said a confrontation between both parties led to escalation of matters and the subsequent riots. The suppression of such incidents, including one at Jolly canal on September 7, 2013, where an alleged “systematic attack” took place on a Hindu mahapanchayat, was the reason he made the documentary, he said.
In August 2015, another documentary, Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai, was denied permission to be screened at JNU citing lack of permission by the organisers, the Democratic Students’ Federation. On Tuesday, Saurabh Sharma from the ABVP said the truth had to be projected to JNU students. “Till now, only a one-sided picture of the riots has been painted. This film shows how a Hindu woman was harassed and later a riot-like situation was started by Muslims. By screening this film, we wanted to question why such incidents of Hindu women being harassed were being suppressed and love jihad was being perpetuated,” he said.
Other student organisations questioned the accuracy of the film as well as the permission granted to ABVP to screen it. Calling Sinha’s interaction “hate speech”, JNUSU president Mohit Pandey wrote on Facebook, “Hear new gyaan from ABVP. Harassment of girls leads to riots. Communalising gender issues so shamefully! Jab Varnika Kundu ki harassment Vikas Barala karta hai, tab kaunsi community ke khilaf danga kare?”