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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Madras Univ bans screening of BBC documentary, CPI-M condemns


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Chennai: The Madras University today banned screening of BBC’s documentary on Gujarat riots.

Activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) has planned to screen it in the Centenary hall of the Madras University today at 1500 hrs.

However, the University management has banned the planned screening, though reports said some of them had watched it by downloading it in their laptops and mobile phones.

Some of the SFI members were detained by the police when they tried to defy the ban.

The SFI plans to screen it after it was done in Kerala and JNU. The Union government recently directed social media platforms to block links to the documentary titled “India: The Modi Question” with the External Affairs Ministry trashing it as a “propaganda piece” that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) witnessed protests over the screening of the same on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) Tamil Nadu unit Secretary K Balakrishnan condemned the State police and the University authorities for preventing students from screening the BBC’s two-part documentary on Gujarat riots denying their fundamental rights.

“The public and democratic organisations are screening the documentary which cannot be seen on the internet.

Stating that the police blocked the screening of a documentary on behalf of the SFI and arrested them for watching the film on their cell phones, he said the action of the University management to ban screening of the documentary at the University of Madras are not justifiable.

The BBC produced a documentary based on new evidence exposing the role of the then-Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government, Balakrishnan said in a press release, adding, the Union government has allegedly misused provisions of IT rules to block the documentary.

He said police had detained members of DYFI and CPM councillors for watching the BBC documentary on their phones at Anna Nagar and the SFI members has planned to screen it at Madras University today and it was halted by the officials.

Observing that it was a fundamental right of the citizens of India to watch the documentary and know the news and decide on it, he said that police and the educational institutions have acted against this fundamental right.

“The CPM State Secretariat strongly condemns these actions,” he said, calling upon the Left and democratic organisations to screen the documentary at all possible places across the State.

“We strongly urge the Tamil Nadu Government and the Police to protect the fundamental rights of the people, realising that concealing the facts from public view will lead the country to a more regressive environment,” he added.


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