Indian police arrest students who gathered to watch a BBC documentary on Modi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Delhi police detained college students on Wednesday as they gathered to look at a current BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India known as propaganda and banned from broadcasting and sharing on social media.

It follows related unrest, a few of which turned violent, at pupil gatherings this week to look at the documentary questioning Modi’s management throughout lethal riots twenty years in the past, as his opponents raised questions on authorities oversight.

Modi, who’s aiming to win a 3rd time period in elections subsequent yr, was chief minister of Gujarat in February 2002 when suspected Muslims set fireplace to a practice carrying Hindu pilgrims, sparking one of many worst outbreaks of spiritual bloodshed in India.

In reprisal assaults throughout the state, no less than 1,000 folks, most of them Muslims, had been killed as crowds roamed the streets for days, concentrating on the minority. Activists put the demise toll at about 2,500, greater than double that determine.

The federal government has stated the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Query” broadcast final week is a biased “propaganda article” and has banned any clips from it from being shared on social media.

College students Federation of India (SFI) stated on Wednesday that it plans to display the documentary in each Indian state.

They won’t cease the voice of dissent,” stated Mukh Biswas, basic secretary of SFI, the coed wing of the Communist Get together of India (Marxist).

Forward of a type of performances at Jamia Islamia College in Delhi, 13 college students had been arrested amid a heavy police presence. Police stated the college blamed the scholars for making a “avenue commotion” and stated they didn’t have permission to stage the parade.

“There isn’t a probability that anybody making an attempt to disturb the college system will go free,” Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar informed Reuters.

College students stated {that a} day earlier, members of a right-wing group had thrown stones at college students who had been hoping to look at the documentary at Jawaharlal Nehru College in Delhi.

Pupil chief Ayesha Ghosh stated they had been watching the documentary on their telephones and laptops after the ability went out about midway earlier than the scheduled displaying.

The college refused permission and threatened disciplinary motion if the documentary was proven.

“It’s clear that the administration has reduce off the electrical energy,” Ghosh stated. “We encourage universities throughout the nation to conduct the screenings as an act of resistance in opposition to this censorship.”

The college’s media coordinator didn’t remark when requested concerning the energy outage on campus.

A spokesman for a right-wing pupil group didn’t reply to a message searching for remark. A police spokesman didn’t reply to inquiries.

Protests additionally erupted following a screening of the movie on a university campus within the southern state of Kerala on Tuesday whereas a halfway screening at a college within the northern Indian metropolis of Chandigarh was canceled, in keeping with native media reviews.

Derek O’Brien, a member of parliament within the Senate, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the opposition “will proceed to battle good censorship,” referring to the ban on sharing clips from the documentary on social media. .

The BBC stated its collection of documentaries examines tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority and explores Modi’s insurance policies in relation to those tensions.

“The documentary has been meticulously researched to the very best requirements of modifying,” the BBC stated.

The BBC stated it had approached “a variety of voices, witnesses and specialists” and provided a spread of opinions, together with responses from folks in Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Get together.

(Reporting by Shivam Patil in New Delhi and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai). Further reporting by Krishn Kaushik; Enhancing by Robert Purcell and Jonathan Otis

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