TISS students in Mumbai watch BBC documentary amid protest by BJP youth wing

NewsDrum Desk
29 Jan 2023

Mumbai, Jan 29 (PTI) Several students of the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) have watched a controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Godhra riots amid protest by the Bharatiya Janata Party's youth wing outside the campus, an police official said on Sunday.

The students had earlier planned to arrange a mass screening of the documentary "India: The Modi Question", but they watched it on Saturday on laptops and mobile phones at a decided time and venue despite a warning by the institute, while tight police security was deployed outside the campus, he said.

Activists of the BJP's youth wing had come to know of it and they reached outside the campus. They demanded the screening of the documentary be cancelled and shouted slogans against the institute.

The Centre had last week directed social media platforms Twitter and YouTube to block links to the documentary “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.

A large number of police personnel, including women, were deployed outside the TISS campus to maintain proper law and order, the official said.

The BJP's youth wing has submitted a complaint to stop the screening of the documentary, the official said, adding no FIR has been registered and no arrest made so far.

The Progressive Student Forum (PSF-TISS) issued a statement saying the PSF congratulates and salutes the brave students of TISS for joining the mass watching of the BBC documentary 'India: The Modi Question', in huge numbers and making it a grand success.

"Despite the BJP's attack and maligning campaign upon TISS and the institute administration refusing any form of cooperation, close to 200+ students turned up in solidarity to our cause," the statement said.

There were 10 laptops streaming the documentary parallelly from various places of the campus. Groups of students were also streaming the documentary on their personal mobile phones, it said.

"Collectively, the students of TISS upheld our institution's culture of debate, discussion and, most importantly, dissent," the students' forum said.

"Even as BJP goons threatened to violate the peace and tranquility of the institute, we gathered, protested, and in doing so, defended our right to free speech," it said.

The forum thanked student organisations and all other sections of TISS for their "active cooperation and support." Meanwhile, BJP Yuva Morcha Mumbai president Tajinder Singh Tiwana said, "Not only in the TISS, we will not allow the screening of the BBC documentary in Mumbai anywhere. The BBC is not above the judiciary and it (the documentary) is a conspiracy to spread negativity against the prime minister." Over the past few days, students at many educational institutes, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Ambedkar University in the national capital, have tried to screen the controversial BBC documentary. PTI ZA GK GK

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