Authorities have imposed Section 144 in Delhi University’s Faculty of Arts ahead of the two scheduled screenings of the controversial BBC documentary on PM Narendra Modi by two student groups on Friday. While the NSUI, the students’ wing of the Congress, had scheduled the screening at 4 PM, the Bhim Army Student Federation planned to screen the documentary at 5 PM today.
With Section 144 of the CrPC enforced, there is a ban on a gathering of three or more people in the vicinity. Several students, most owing allegiance to NSUI Kerala, were detained in front of the University Plaza gate ahead of the screening.
The police asked the students to clear the premises ahead of the screening. A laptop, which was being used by the students to screen the documentary, was also seized by the police.
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The NSUI, meanwhile, has alleged that they had approached the Delhi Police for a peaceful protest by students against the university officials denying screening of the documentary but were denied permission.
The development comes amid a raging controversy over students’ groups across several campuses in India scheduling screenings of the two-part documentary series titled ‘India: The Modi Question’.
While the University of Hyderabad organised a screening of the documentary on Saturday, the JNUSU and SFI also planned to screen the documentary on campuses over the past week. The scheduled screenings led to a huge controversy with reports of protests, blackouts, stone-pelting and clampdowns reported at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Jamia Millia Islamia campuses.
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Earlier on Friday, students at the Ambedkar University in Delhi said they screened the documentary on their personal devices after the administration cut off power supply at the campus ahead of a screening they had scheduled for students at 1 PM today. Students also alleged that the campus gates were locked and the administration also removed the cloth on which the film was to be projected.
Meanwhile, there are reports of protests being held in front the Faculty of Arts at DU against the administration blocking the screening and the police clampdown. The Delhi Police also entered the Faculty of Arts building as protesters headed towards the gate. The protest has been organised by the Bhim Army Student Federation.