Taking serious exception to the screening of the BBC documentary on the 2002 riots in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was chief minister of the state on the campus on 21 January by the Fraternity Movement, the administration of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has sought a report on it.
In a statement, university registrar Devesh Nigam on Tuesday, 24 January, said no prior permission was obtained for screening the documentary, which was in violation of the existing norms.
As per the prescribed procedure, any student organisation, desiring to hold an event on the UoH campus is required to obtain prior permission from the dean of students’ welfare.
He said that the student organisation Fraternity Movement screened the BBC documentary India: The Modi Question at the shopping complex in the North Campus without permission.
On receiving the information, a security team and the dean had rushed to the venue and requested the organisers to stop the screening of the documentary.
However, the organisers did not accede to the request and “continued the screening in the presence of few students”.
There was, however, no untoward incident and the “campus was quiet and peaceful”, the registrar’s statement said.
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Meanwhile, Fraternity Movement, in a statement, said it held the public screening of the BBC docu-series as that two-episode documentary was based on the “2002 pogrom in Gujarat” when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state.
The statement, issued by Fraternity Movement HCU unit president Afsal Hussain and general secretary Haifa Banna, said that it had been decided to organise the screening in memory of persecuted Muslims.
The Fraternity Movement said that the BBC documentary was an affirmation of an already existing narrative which questions the claims of the then Gujarat government.
The unilateral directive issued by the central government to certain online platforms to block the availability of the documentary is condemnable, they said, and pointed out: “As a self-claimed democratic country, we believe that any attempt to curb the freedom of expression goes against its own commitment to democracy.”
They said that the screening of the documentary contributes to the academic environment “of questioning the fascist forces”.