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Monday, April 15, 2024

Indian police detain students at screening of BBC documentary on Modi

Police, some in plain clothes, scuffled with protesting students and detained at least half a dozen, who were taken away in a van.

The Indian police detained students who gathered to watch a recent BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi that questions his leadership during the deadly 2002 Gujarat riots.

According to the details, 13 students from Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia university were detained at the screening of the BBC documentary on Modi amid a heavy police deployment. Police, some in plain clothes, scuffled with protesting students and detained at least half a dozen, who were taken away in a van.

A warning was also issued to the university against unapproved student gatherings. Meanwhile, the university blamed the students for creating a “ruckus on the street” and said they did not have permission to hold the show, police said.

Read more: India blocks BBC ‘propaganda piece’

To clarify, the first part of the BBC documentary relies on interviews with victims of the riots, journalists, and rights activists, who say Modi looked the other way during the riots. The second part of the documentary, released Tuesday in the U.K., examines the track record of Narendra Modi’s government following his re-election in 2019.

The documentary has caused quite a stir in India, however, the Modi government is adamant that the documentary is not shown anywhere. It has dismissed the documentary as propaganda and has since then launched what is being termed as media censorship by ordering YouTube and Twitter to remove the video links of the documentary.

Meanwhile, the students are determined to watch the banned documentary anyways and have gone ahead to hold public screenings at university campuses across India. The students argue that the documentary showcases an important event in India’s history, particularly so because Modi is now the prime minister.

The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) said on Wednesday it plans to show the documentary in every Indian state.

“They won’t stop the voice of dissent,” said Mayukh Biswas, general secretary of the SFI, the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Read more: India warns students against enrolling in Pakistan