Due to the broadcast of a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his involvement in deadly religious riots in 2002, tensions have erupted at two of India’s most prestigious institutions.
Prior to a scheduled screening, police detained nearly a dozen students at the Delhi-based Jamia Millia Islamia institution.
Tuesday, students at a different Delhi institution claimed that the internet and power had been turned down in order to prevent them from exhibiting the movie.
The Indian government claims that the film is “propaganda” and lacks objectivity. In order to remove the documentary from Twitter and YouTube, it has used emergency laws.
Numerous police officers in riot gear were stationed at Jamia University, where administrators declared they would not tolerate any “unauthorized gatherings.”
The university’s gates had been sealed, according to a BBC Hindi correspondent on the scene, and the environment inside was quiet. But outside, there was a sizable group of students and journalists. Numerous police officers could be seen lining up outside the barred gate in videos.
It occurs many hours after unrest at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday evening. There, students claimed that authorities had turned off the electricity and internet to halt a screening. Officials at the university didn’t respond to the complaint right away.
The JNU Students’ Union had been asked by the university administration not to show the movie because it would “disturb the peace and harmony of the university campus.”
JNU student organizers issued QR codes so that people could stream the film on their laptops and phones even though the public screening was postponed due to a power outage.
Additionally, there were many police officers on that site. Our source reported that while students were watching the video, “a group of 20-30 people” threw stones at them. Students claim to have made a police report.
India: The Modi Question, a two-part series, premiered its first episode on January 17 in the UK. On Tuesday, the second installment was telecast.
The documentary has drawn criticism from India’s foreign ministry, which referred to it as “a propaganda film aimed to sell a specific discredited narrative.”
However, according to the BBC, the movie was thoroughly researched. According to a BBC release, the show “explores the politics of Mr. Modi in connection to those tensions” and “examines the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority.” The Indian government was given the opportunity to respond, but it declined, the statement continued.
The documentary’s first installment followed Mr. Modi’s entry into politics, from his ascent through the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ranks to his selection as Gujarat’s chief minister.
It drew attention to a previously unreleased report that the BBC had obtained from the UK foreign office and that raises concerns about Mr. Modi’s actions during the religious riots that broke out in Gujarat in 2002 following the setting on fire of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, which resulted in the deaths of many.
The rioting, which claimed more than 1,000 lives, predominantly Muslims, was some of the worst India has experienced since gaining independence in 1947.
According to the investigation, Mr. Modi “directly” contributed to the “environment of impunity” that encouraged the violence.
Mr. Modi has always denied any involvement in the violence and hasn’t expressed regret for the riots. A Supreme Court panel decided in 2013 that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.
Several opposition figures and government critics shared links to the BBC program on social media despite the fact that it was not shown in India.
An advisor to the Indian government said that the administration had given the go-ahead for YouTube to forbid uploads of the movie and directed Twitter to block tweets that contained links to it.
In accordance with a request made on January 20 by the Indian ministry of information and broadcasting pursuant to the nation’s information technology law, Twitter acknowledged to the BBC that it had blocked 50 tweets.
A spokesman for YouTube claimed that the BBC had “banned the video from airing due to a copyright claim.” A representative for the BBC stated: “As is regular practice, we follow the procedure to have any BBC content that has been illegally uploaded removed.”
The documentary will be shown once more, according to the JNU Students’ Union. Other Indian organizations have also recently hosted screenings or made preparations to do so.
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