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4 SFI members detained at Delhi’s Jamia over BBC documentary

Following the announcement by the Left-affiliated Students’ Federation of India (SFI) that it is going to screen the contentious BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Jamia Millia Islamia campus, the Delhi Police reported on Wednesday detained four members of the organization. The screening of the documentary, which was scheduled to take place at 6 PM today, was also halted as the administration didn’t allow the unauthorised event.

After the Students Federation of India announced the screening on Facebook on Tuesday, officials at Jamia declared in a statement that they would not permit any unapproved meetings on campus. The SFI’s Jamia unit had said that the documentary will be screened at 6 pm at the MCRC lawn gate no 8. Following this, the institution’s management stated that the screening will not be permitted and that they are taking all necessary precautions to stop individuals and groups with a “vested interest to undermine the peaceful academic atmosphere of the university.”

The institution released a statement saying, “It has come to the notice of the administration of the university that some students belonging to a political organization have circulated a poster about the screening of a contentious documentary film on the university campus today.” The university said that in the event of any violations, organizers will face severe disciplinary punishment.

Four SFI members were detained, according to a Delhi Police spokesman, just hours before the screening that the student body had scheduled for 6 p.m. At 4 o’clock, the SFI announced a demonstration against the detention of its members. A poster advertising the documentary’s screening at the MCRC lawn gate no. 8 at 6 o’clock has been made available by the SFI’s Jamia section.

The SFI issued a statement following the detention. It said, “In an atrocious manner, Azeez, a student of Jamia Milia Islamia and SFI Jamia Unit Secretary; Nivedya, a Jamia Student and SFI South Delhi Area Vice President; Abhiram and Tejas, both Jamia students and SFI Unit members have been detained by the Delhi Police prior to the screening of the documentary.”

Security has been stepped up at Jamia Millia Islamia University in advance of the showing of the provocative BBC documentary after activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) organized its screening.

The documentary’s social media sharing was prohibited on Saturday by the Indian government, by making use of emergency powers provided for under the country’s information technology legislation. The documentary series was referred to by the administration as “hostile propaganda.”

A similar screening that some students attempted to host yesterday night at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) encountered difficulties since the students’ union office’s internet and electricity went out. The JNU administration had threatened disciplinary punishment if the video was shown, saying that doing so may damage campus peace and unity.


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