BBC documentary: Calcutta University's SFI unit screens movie on laptop outside college

Members of the SFI mounted a laptop on a wooden platform in front of the main gate of the university and around 50 people watched the first part of the two-part documentary 
Photo of  Calcutta University  | Pic: Express
Photo of Calcutta University | Pic: Express

Despite the ban on the BBC Documentary, India: The Modi Question, by the government, the left-leaning student organisation activists made arrangements on Friday, February 3, to screen the movie outside the college street campus of Calcutta University (CU).

Around 5.40 pm, the members of SFI (Students' Federation of India) set up a laptop on a wooden platform in front of the university's main entrance where around 50 people watched the first part of the two-part documentary. "We were not allowed by the TMC-controlled police to screen it with a projector and so we have settled for the next best alternative. Two loud speakers were attached to the laptop for people to hear the commentary and dialogue. Due to some technical errors, however, we could only show the first part," SFI leader Samprikta Bose said, stated in a report by PTI.

Samprikta Bose told PTI that by screening the documentary, the SFI wanted to clearly tell the authorities that "such restrictions can't stifle our voices." She stated, "This is the first time in the state that the documentary was shown openly on the roadside, and not within four walls. We wanted students as well others to watch the film. The 2022 riots happen to be an important chapter in the country's history, and we won't let anyone suppress information."

A police officer posted outside the campus told PTI that the students were instructed not to use a projector to screen the film and they abided by the instruction. He refused to comment when he was asked if any step would be taken against the organisers for screening it on a laptop outside the campus, as reported by PTI. However, as the film was screened next to the main gate of the campus, police officers in plain clothes and IB personnel kept watch.

An official at CU said that the varsity has nothing to do with the screening of the documentary that happened outside the campus as reported by PTI.

The two-part documentary claims to have looked into certain aspects of the riots that occurred in 2002 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Gujarat's Chief Minister. The Center had issued instructions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts that shared links to the documentary.

In the meantime, the BJP attacked the TMC and demanded to know why the banned movie was allowed to be seen outside the CU campus.

"It is the same party that had also shown disrespect to the martyred jawans at Pulwama by questioning the IAF air strike in Balakot," BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, stated the PTI report.

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