SFI at Kolkata’s Presidency University plans to screen BBC documentary

Amid the ongoing controversy over the propaganda BBC documentary, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) of Presidency University in Kolkata has additionally sought permission to screen the banned documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat riots on January 27 at 4 pm.

The SFI at Presidency University claimed it had submitted an email to university officials to reserve the badminton court on campus, where the video would be screened on a large screen. The university administration has yet to react to the request.

This is after the screening of the propaganda BBC documentary titled “India: The Modi Question” was halted at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia university. The controversy heated up as the JNU administration allegedly cut power and internet connections at the student union’s office to stop the illegal screening of the banned documentary. On January 25, the leftist student body JNU Student’s Union claimed that after the power supply was cut, stones were pelted at them by ABVP as some students gathered to watch BBC’s controversial docuseries on the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The students claimed that stones were hurled at them when they were watching the documentary on their mobile phones as the screening could not be held. ABVP on the other hand has refuted the accusations. Moreover, a senior police officer stated that no such incident was reported to the police.

The JNU administration on the other hand stated that there was a major power line fault that was being fixed. “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,” the JNU administration said. Notably, the JNU administration had refused to permit the screening and had said that disciplinary action would be taken if the documentary was screened. Earlier, a case was filed against the JNUSU for intending to show the banned documentary on the JNU campus.

The plan of SFI to screen the documentary at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi also didn’t materialise after the university administration refused permission for the screening. Several SFI members were detained by police for the same.

Last week, India denounced the controversial BBC documentary series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, described as a ‘propaganda piece’ designed to push a discredited narrative. “We think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity, and frankly continuing colonial mindset are blatantly visible,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a weekly media briefing.

Apart from JNUSU, many other student organizations at different universities attempted to show the BBC documentary. Earlier, Student Islamic Organisation (SIO) & Muslim Student Federation known as the Fraternity group at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) organized a screening of the BBC documentary inside the campus on Monday. More than 50 students from these groups attended the screening.

Also, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala, has announced that they will screen the controversial documentary on Tuesday evening in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram despite stiff opposition from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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