The banning of the two-part BBC film, India: The Modi Question, by the Indian government has not been taken as lightly as the authorities had hoped would happen.

It is not entirely unusual for the government to ban certain pieces of media here and there, however, when last the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) directed YouTube and Twitter to take down links sharing the BBC documentary under emergency provisions of the Information Technology Rules, 2021, since then students have been protesting its ban and holding screenings for its regardless.

So far the situation has escalated that it is not just one or two colleges doing so, but more and more joining in, students being detained, protests being held and much more.

What Is Going On?

Last week, the MIB banned links to the BBC documentary, ordered Twitter to take down more than 50 tweets related to the documentary and with links to it and told YouTube to block video uploads of it.

The reason for doing so was given that the film casts “aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India, sowing divisions among various communities, and making unsubstantiated allegations regarding actions of foreign governments in India”.

Many known personalities had even shared the links to the documentary such as Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien, Hollywood actor John Cusack and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, among others.

Several colleges though opted to hold screenings of the movie regardless of the ban, starting with Jawaharlal Nehru University students on January 25th 2023. However, chaos broke out after police were called on ground and they ended up detaining around 13 students at Jamia Milla Islamia University in order to prevent the screening from taking place.

The JMI administration in a statement said that “It has come to the knowledge of the University Administration that some students belonging to a political organization – SFI [or the Students Federation of India], have circulated a poster about the screening of a controversial documentary film on the university campus today.

[The] administration has earlier issued a memorandum and circular and once again, reiterates that no meeting or gathering of students or screening of any film shall be allowed without the permission of the competent authority, failing which, strict disciplinary action shall be taken against the organisers.”

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Also, it’s not just Jamia and JNU but afterward, students from Delhi University and Ambedkar University also faced action from both the university administration and the police stopping them from screening the film. Gathering of students outside the DU Arts Faculty was banned, AU authorities cut off the power supply,

Not just in Delhi, but across states, there is a growing urge to watch the film, recently 10 students at Madras University, Tamil Nadu were enraged after the administration declined their request to air the film and even Chennai Corporation councilor A Priyadarshini was detained on Thursday after it was found that she saw the film on her phone.

The film based around the 2002 Gujarat riots, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state has now got DU looking for police protection in order to prevent students from being able to screen the movie.

The university proctor, Rajni Abbi speaking to PTI said that “We have written to Delhi Police regarding this. They will take action. Proper police deployment would be done. We cannot allow such a screening.”

She further said “We have received information that NSUI is planning to screen this documentary at the Arts faculty… No permission has been sought for it. We will not allow such behaviour.”

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Business Today, The Hindu, The Indian Express

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: BBC Documentary students, BBC Documentary, DU Students, DU Students detained, bbc documentary DU Students, bbc documentary modi, bbc documentary controversy

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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