Tue 24 January 2023:
A prestigious Indian university has threatened its student union with severe disciplinary action if it proceeds with a planned screening of a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi because it could “disturb peace and harmony” on campus.
The documentary, which questioned Modi’s leadership during deadly riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, was dismissed by his administration as “propaganda.” The government also forbade its airing and the sharing of any clips on social media in the nation.
According to rights organizations, more than 2,000 people were killed during the violence that Modi oversaw in Gujarat, the majority of them Muslims.
The students’ union of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, long seen as a bastion of left-wing politics, said on Twitter it would screen the documentary, India: The Modi Question, at its office at 9pm (15:30 GMT) on Tuesday.
Jawahar Lal University advised the students to cancel the screening of documentary: “ India: The Modi question” .
— Amit Pandey (@yuva_journalist) January 23, 2023
The university administration said on its website it had not given permission for the documentary to be shown.
“This is to emphasise that such an unauthorised activity may disturb peace and harmony of the university campus,” the university said.
“The concerned students/individuals are firmly advised to cancel the proposed programme immediately failing which a strict disciplinary action may be initiated as per the university rules.”
President of the union, Aishe Ghosh, invited students on Twitter to the screening of the documentary that has been “‘banned’ by an ‘elected government’ of the largest ‘democracy’”.
I think the JNU Administration missed the tweet by our PM tweeted some years back. Just reminding. We take his words quite seriously. pic.twitter.com/IeEwMoyZgz
— Aishe (ঐশী) (@aishe_ghosh) January 23, 2023
The violence in Gujarat erupted after a train carrying many Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59.
Crowds later rampaged through Muslim neighbourhoods across the state, killing and raping dozens of women, in one of the worst religious massacres in India’s history.
Modi was cleared in 2012 as a result of an investigation supervised by the Supreme Court, despite denials that he did not do enough to put an end to the rioting. Last year, a different petition that contested his exoneration was denied.
The documentary, according to the BBC’s statement last week, was “rigorously researched” and featured a “wide range” of voices and viewpoints, including comments from members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The documentary will also be shown on Tuesday at a number of colleges in Kerala, a southern state that is currently ruled by a communist party that is opposed to the BJP.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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