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BBC documentary row: Leftist groups screen banned propaganda series at multiple universities, ABVP responds with screening The Kashmir Files

SFI plans to screen the documentary in more universities, including at JNU and Jamia where it failed to do so earlier.

The controversial BBC Documentary “India: The Modi Question” was screened at Jadavpur University in Kolkata and University of Hyderabad by the Students Federation of India’s (SFI) members on Thursday. The screening came after failing to do so at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia University. In Hyderabad, ABVP members screened the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ in the campus in retaliation.

SFI, the student’s wing of the CPI(M), screened the documentary at Jadavpur University in Kolkata on Thursday without any incident. Neither the police nor the administration interfered with the screening, and there were no opposition to the screening from any student group. Reportedly around 200 students watched the documentary film.

Similarly, the Students Federation of India (SFI) screened the film at the University of Hyderabad campus in Hyderabad on Thursday. It was the second display of the documentary in the university, as earlier Fraternity Movement in UoH campus, a students’ group, had organised the screening of the documentary on January 21 without any permission. SFI’s unit in the university tweeted that more than 400 students turned out for the screening.

The documentary was also screened at Puducherry University by the SFI.

On the other hand, RSS’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) screened the ground-breaking movie “The Kashmir Files” at the University of Hyderabad on Thursday, in retaliation to the screening of the documentary by SFI.

SFI plans to screen the documentary in more universities, including at JNU and Jamia where it failed to do so earlier. There are also plans to screen it at Delhi University and Ambedkar University. The SFI has also requested permission to show the documentary on Friday at Presidency University in Kolkata. On February 1, the video will also be shown by members of Presidency University’s visual arts organization, according to Moitreyo Sarkar, one of the organizers.

Earlier on Wednesday, the planned screening at the Jawaharlal Nehru University had failed after the JNU administration turned off the electricity and the internet. Due to the inability to organize the showing, the students afterwards staged protests and claimed they were attacked while viewing the video on their mobile devices. Stone pelting was alleged during the protest.

Similarly, on Thursday, the SFI’s plan to screen the documentary at Jamia Millia Islamia University was foiled as the university administration refused permission for the same. 13 SFI members from the university were detained in Delhi on Wednesday for causing a disturbance in protest against the refusal of permission.

According to a statement from the university, Jamia Millia Islamia cancelled classes on Friday at the request of both students and teachers. The administration stated in a memo that all university offices, including the departments, centres, and schools, will operate normally.

On January 27, All India Student Association (AISA) organised protests at Delhi’s Ambedkar University in support of students at Jawaharlal University and Millia Islamia University. The group denounced the ‘police brutality’ meted out to JNU and Jamia students who attempted to screen the contentious BBC Narendra Modi documentary, but could not after they were denied permission.

“End Police Brutality On Students! End Arbitrary Detention And Targeting Of Students From Jamia!” AISA said in a poster.

The screening of the documentary is taking place at various places after the Centre’s last-week directive to remove numerous YouTube videos and Twitter posts that contained links to the documentary.

The Indian government has banned videos of the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which it has labelled a propaganda effort. As per Indian laws and regulations, videos and tweets containing links to the BBC programme have been blocked, according to I&B ministry consultant Kanchan Gupta.

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