Screening of BBC documentary on Modi at Visva Bharati stalled


Kolkata: An attempt to screen the controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat riots on the campus of Visva Bharati university in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Thursday evening by the members of the Democratic Students’ Association (DSA) was foiled after a large contingent of police assisted by the university’s own security team took possession of the screening venue, not allowing the students to bring the screen equipment there.

The police and university authorities claimed that the decision of not allowing the students to screen the controversial documentary was prompted by security reasons following the arrival of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the same evening to attend the convocation ceremony of the university on Friday.

However, university sources said that since the Prime Minister himself is the Chancellor of the university, the screening of the documentary — ‘India: The Modi Question’ — that too in the presence of the Defence Minister, would have sent wrong signals and hence the top authorities decided to stall the screening with the help of the police.

DSA spokesman Subho Nath told mediapersons that the planning and announcement of screening the documentary were made much before the announcement of the Defence Minister’s visit.

“Also, the screening venue is at a distance from the venue of the convocation ceremony. We were feeling the pressure for not screening the documentary for quite some time. Finally, the university authorities with the help of district police stopped us from screening it. Be it the Union government or the state government, they are all all on the same boat when it comes to suppressing the democratic rights of the students. But we will not backtrack. We will screen the documentary some other day,” he said.

After not being able to screen the documentary, a section of the students staged silent protests within the university campus holding posters which claimed that be it the Centre or the state government, the nature of the fascist forces is the same.

Commenting on developments, BJP’s national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said that the students who tried to screen the documentary on such an occasion are actually ‘anti-nationals’.

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( With inputs from )

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