Patiala, January 30
Despite opposition by students associated with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), students of Punjabi University, Patiala, on Monday successfully screened BBC’s controversial documentary ‘India: the Modi question’ which is based on the Gujarat riots.
The documentary was screened peacefully in presence of over 300 students and a few police officials who kept an eye to check any trouble.
The documentary has already been banned by the Centre. In fact, students of various organisations had earlier attempted to screen the documentary at theJawaharlal Nehru Universityin Delhi and Panjab University in Chandigarh but remained unsuccessful.The screening of the two-part documentary started at 6 pm and continued till 8 pm.
Students said they held the screening to deliver a message against curbing freedom of speech. “We screened the BBC documentary in the evening hours. We do not need permission to organise events in the open. It was done outside Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha library. Many students gathered to watch the screening,” Amandeep Singh of the Punjab Students’ Union (PSU) said.
Students and activists of other unions, including All India Student Federation (AISF), old leaders of Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Student Federation of India (SFI) also attended the programme.
Earlier in the day, students associated with ABVP had submitted a memorandum to the university against the screening. ABVP Punjab state organising secretary Saurav Kapoor and ABVP Punjabi University president Akash Nain said they had submitted a memorandum against the screening and said the documentary had been banned in the country. “Screening it could lead to violence among youth,” they added.
After the screening, Saurav Kapoor said the union will write to the police department and seek registration of an FIR against those who organised the event.
University Dean Student Welfare Anupama could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. University Public Relations office later said student activities held in the open do not require permission from the university authorities.
SHO, Urban Estate, Amritvir Singh said the documentary screening took place in a peaceful manner. “We had not received anything about itin writing,” he said.
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