Indian police detain students gathered to watch a BBC documentary on Modi

Indian police detain students gathered to watch a BBC documentary on Modi
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NEW DELHI, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Students were detained by Delhi police on Wednesday as they gathered to watch a recent BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India dismissed as propaganda and blocked from being broadcast and distributed on the Internet. social media.

This follows similar disruptions, some of which turned violent, at student gatherings this week to watch the documentary questioning Modi’s leadership during deadly riots two decades ago, while his opponents question government censorship.

Modi, who is running for a third term in next year’s elections, was Gujarat’s prime minister in February 2002 when an alleged Muslim mob set fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, sparking one of the worst outbreaks of oil spills. religious blood in independent India.

In retaliatory attacks across the state, at least 1,000 people were killed, mostly Muslims, as crowds roamed the streets for days, targeting the minority group. Activists put the number of victims at around 2,500, more than double that number.

Modi has denied accusations that he did not do enough to stop the unrest and was exonerated in 2012 after an investigation overseen by the Supreme Court. A petition challenging his exoneration was dismissed last year.

The government has said that the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” released last week is “bias”propaganda piece” and has blocked sharing of any clips of him on Social media.

The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) said on Wednesday that it plans to show the documentary in all Indian states.

“They will not stop the voice of dissent,” said Mayukh Biswas, general secretary of SFI, the student wing of the (Marxist) Communist Party of India.

Before one such screening at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, 13 students were detained amid heavy police deployment. The university blamed the students for creating a “riot in the street” and said they did not have permission to perform the show, police said.

“There is no chance that someone who tries to disturb the discipline of the university will go free,” the university’s deputy chancellor, Najma Akhtar, told Reuters.

A day earlier, members of a right-wing group hurled bricks at students waiting for To watch the documentary at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, the students said.

Student leader Aishe Ghosh said they were watching the documentary on their phones and laptops after the power went out about half an hour before a scheduled screening.

The university denied permission and threatened disciplinary action if the documentary was shown.

“Obviously it was the administration that shut off the power,” Ghosh said. “We are encouraging campuses across the country to hold screenings as an act of resistance against this censorship.”

The university’s media coordinator did not comment when asked about the power outage on campus.

A spokesman for the right-wing student group did not respond to a message seeking comment. A police spokesman did not respond to inquiries.

Protests also erupted after the film was screened on campuses in the southern state of Kerala on Tuesday, while a midway show at a university in the northern city of Chandigarh was cancelled, according to local media reports.

Derek O’Brien, a member of parliament in the upper house of parliament, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the opposition will “continue to fight the good fight against censorship” in reference to the blocking of sharing clips from the documentary on social media.

The BBC said its documentary series examines tensions between India’s majority Hindu and minority Muslims and explores Modi’s politics in relation to those tensions.

“The documentary was rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards,” the BBC said.

He reached out to “a wide range of voices, witnesses and experts” and presented a range of opinions, including responses from people in Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the BBC said.

Reporting by Shivam Patel in New Delhi and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Additional reporting by Krishna Kaushik; Edited by Robert Birsel, Jonathan Oatis, and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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