Here's a list of campuses across India where attempts were made to screen controversial BBC documentary

Students defied the ban amidst detentions, violence and power cuts to organise the screening of the documentary on their campuses
Screening at HCU | Pic: Sourced
Screening at HCU | Pic: Sourced

The past week saw efforts by students from several educational institutions to screen the controversial BBC documentary on India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on their campuses. The government had directed social media platforms Twitter and YouTube to block links to the documentary titled India: The Modi Question. The Ministry of External Affairs has thrashed the documentary as a "propaganda piece" that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset. However, students defied the ban amidst detentions, violence and power cuts to organise screenings of the documentary.

Here is a look at how the screenings went about on different campuses.

University of Hyderabad (UoH)
The UoH or the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) was one of the first campuses that witnessed the screening of the documentary. The documentary was screened on Sunday, January 22 by a group of students under the banner Fraternity Movement - HCU unit, on the UoH campus, which prompted university authorities to seek a report as no permission was taken prior to the screening.

After the second part of the documentary was released on January 24, members of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) announced another screening on campus. However, they were forced to shift the timing and venue of the documentary screening on January 26, at 5 pm following calls from ABVP members of the university for screening of the film The Kashmir Files at the same time and venue. Students from the university told EdexLive that both screenings went peacefully.

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
On the other hand, a few minutes after the screening of the documentary began at JNU on January 24, the electricity at the venue was cut, informed one of the students, as per The New Indian Express. The JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) was going ahead with the screening despite the warning that was issued by university authorities, which directed students to cancel the event or face “strict disciplinary action”. Students also reported incidents of stone-pelting and accused members of ABVP of the same — a charge that the latter has denied. They claimed that they were attacked when they were watching the documentary on their mobile phones as the screening could not be held, as stated in a report by PTI.

Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI)
SFI members of JMI also organised a screening on January 25. However, their efforts were thwarted after several members of their student-led association were detained by Delhi police ahead of the screening. Protests erupted against the actions of the Delhi police. However, SFI members later confirmed that over 70 students who were protesting against these arrests were also detained, as per a PTI report. Heavy police presence was reported outside the campus, with personnel from the Rapid Action Force (RAF) deployed at the gate, as per a PTI report. The detained students were released on January 26.

Delhi University
Ahead of the screening at DU's Faculty of Arts, Proctor of the university, Rajni Abbi, said that there was no permission sought from the administration for the screening of the movie. "We have written to Delhi Police regarding this. They will take action. Proper police deployment would be done. We cannot allow such a screening," Abbi told PTI.

The row escalated as Delhi Police imposed Section 144 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) yesterday, January 27. As per an ANI report, several protesting students and members of the National Students' Union of India (NSUI) organisation, among others, were also detained outside the Faculty of Arts at DU and a sizable security presence was stationed. The students have been released now.

Ambedkar University (AUD)
The university also saw unrest yesterday after the administration cut off electricity in an attempt to interrupt the screening. However, students ultimately watched the documentary on their laptops.

"SFI activists had been trying to book a room to screen the movie for the past week but the administration did not give permission. It was thus decided that the documentary will be screened in the open in the canteen," a statement by SFI said. Students were harassed at the university gate in the "name of ensuring security", they said.

Kozhikode Medical College (KMC)
Police once again prevented students from screening the documentary on the campus of KMC on January 26. Protests erupted and the students claimed the police shouted at them and asked them if they were SDPI union members before taking the equipment set up for the screening.

However, after the police and the BJP workers left the campus, the students set up another area on the campus for the documentary screening and they watched it there, stated a report by The New Indian Express.

Presidency University
Tensions mounted even in Presidency University, Kolkata as 30 minutes into the screening, which was well-attended by a large number of people, the power connection was snapped and hence, the screening came to a standstill. It was the allegation of SFI activists that the power cut was deliberate and was done by the authorities of the university, following directions from the state government.

Post the cut, the activists staged a protest and slogans were raised against PU authorities and the state government. The SFI activist also claimed that the authorities were informed in advance about the screening of the BBC documentary.

Jadavpur University
The Jadavpur University in Kolkata smoothly hosted the screening on January 26 without encountering any opposition from the local government or any organisations opposing the film's content. Around 200 students were present at the screening.

Pondicherry University
Members of the ABVP allegedly attacked students at Pondicherry University who were attempting to screen the documentary, despite the ongoing campus ban on Wednesday, January 25. Ananthapadmanabhan, President of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) at the university confirmed the incident to EdexLive.

"As soon as the documentary began, around 10 ABVP workers started raising slogans and provoking students to create trouble. Eventually, they pushed through the crowd and few comrades were beaten up," he added.

Earlier, the screening was supposed to be held in hostels. However, ahead of the screening, the university administration allegedly threatened to cut off the WiFi connection and interrupted the power supply as well, students informed. "Since the university administration has threatened to cut power supply as well as WiFi inside the hostels, the scheduled protest screening of the BBC documentary The Modi Question has been shifted from the hostels to the Gender Gate," a statement by the student-led organisation said on Twitter.

Ernakulam Government Law College
The screening did continue in the college but not without interruptions. The main electric fuse was unplugged by the college administration on January 25 while the students were watching the documentary. The college administration reportedly took the action in response to a directive from the principal, according to Favas PP, Chairman of the college students' union. After the students protested, the power was back and the screening could continue, as per a report by The New Indian Express.

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