No screening of BBC docu on PM Modi at JNUSU office as electricity, internet cut; official says fault in power line

NewsDrum Desk
24 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The JNU students' union could not hold the proposed screening of a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday because the varsity's administration snapped power and internet connections at the union's office, students alleged.

They, however, watched the documentary on their mobile-phones and other devices.

"There is a major (power) line fault at the university. We are looking into it. The engineering department is saying it will be resolved at the earliest," a JNU administration official told PTI, requesting anonymity.

Students, who had gathered outside the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) office for the screening of the documentary, claimed that stones were thrown at them when they were watching it on their phones.

However, a senior police officer said that no such incident was reported to police.

There was also no immediate official response from the JNU administration to the allegations and claims of the students. It had on Monday said that the union had not taken its permission for the event and it should be cancelled.

Students had downloaded the documentary on their mobile-phones through an online application to watch and share it, claimed All India Students Association (AISA) national president N Sai Balaji, who was present for the screening along with other students.

The government had on Friday directed social media platforms Twitter and YouTube to block links to the documentary titled "India: The Modi Question". The Ministry of External Affairs has trashed the documentary as a "propaganda piece" that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset.

However, opposition parties have slammed the government's move to block access to the documentary.

Asrar Ahmed, who had gone for the screening said: “We were watching the documentary peacefully (on our phones) but some people threw stones at us. As it was dark, the people who threw the stones could not be identified.” "They (the JNU administration) have cut off the power and internet. We shared the documentary with other students and are watching it together," Balaji said.

Balaji alleged that there were police personnel in civil clothes roaming on the campus. However, there was no immediate response from the police on this claim.

The JNU administration, in an advisory on Monday, had said that the union had not taken its permission for the event and it should be cancelled as it could “disturb peace and harmony”.

The university in an advisory on Monday had said, “It has come to the notice of the administration that a group of students have in the name of the JNUSU released a pamphlet for screening a documentary or movie (titled) “India: The Modi Question” scheduled for 24 January 2023, at 9:00 pm in Teflas.” No prior permission for this event has been taken from the JNU administration, it had said.

The two-part BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” claims it investigated certain aspects relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots when Modi was the chief minister of the state. The documentary has not been screened in India. PTI VA ANB ANB

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