Dozen students detained after failed bid to screen Modi documentary on Jamia campus in Delhi

The Delhi Police detained at least a dozen students from outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university after the Students Federation of India (SFI) said they would screen the BBC documentary titled India: The Modi Question. Some of those detained were raising slogans outside the campus when the police picked them up.

This comes a day after high drama ensued at Jawaharlal Nehru University over the same documentary. On Wednesday, the Delhi Police beefed up security at Jamia university, with the deployment of local staff and paramilitary personnel. Police had also called for anti-riot gear and stood guard at almost all gates.

Many students, who said they were not planning to watch the film anyway, complained they were not allowed to enter the college after noon. Sadia, a BA student, claimed, “They didn’t allow us to enter college. Many of us wanted to take admit cards for exams but were asked to leave. Four students were picked up around noon when they raised slogans against police.”

DCP (Southeast) Esha Pandey said, “A screening… was to be organized by a group of Jamia students,… which was not allowed by university administration. The administration informed police that some students were creating a ruckus on streets, and a total of 13 students were detained around 4 pm to ensure peace in the area.”

Nishant, another student of Jamia, said, “How does it matter if a group of students wishes to see the documentary? The government and police have created so much hype for no reason. The SFI had planned the documentary but the college didn’t allow it and locked the lawn area. Now, police are here…. It’s all unnecessary.”

In a statement, the university stated that no gathering of students or screening of the film will be allowed on the campus. Disciplinary action will be taken against those who don’t follow the directions, said officials.

“We don’t want any disturbance on the campus. We desire to keep the peace and harmony in the university where students are studying and giving exams,” Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar told PTI

SFI had planned to screen the documentary on campus around 6 pm Wednesday but police blocked entry of protesters and students. The SFI claimed four of its members were among those detained. “They have been taken to different police stations. We are not doing anything wrong. The documentary has not been officially banned,” said the SFI Delhi state committee.

The university’s Chief Proctor Dr Atiqur Rahman said, “The campus is peaceful. We have given out a statement earlier… we have told students this is against the country… We haven’t allowed such screening and never will. There has been no violence. We have heard about a few people getting detained but we are yet to confirm if they are Jamia students or not…”

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