Speaking to TNM, a student of JNU said that the students union had planned to screen the documentary at 9 pm on Tuesday but electricity was cut from 8:30 pm onwards.

JNU New Delhi
news BBC Documentary Tuesday, January 24, 2023 - 22:33

The administration of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday, January 24, shut down the electricity connection on campus to prevent the university students union from screening the controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled: The Modi Question. Students have alleged that attempts to watch the documentary on their mobile phones, jammers were used to block the internet. 

Speaking to TNM, a student of JNU said that the students union had planned to screen the documentary at 9 pm on Tuesday but electricity was cut from 8:30 pm onwards. “Even after 9:30 pm, the power was not back. So we distributed QR codes of the documentary link to everyone. We are now watching on their phones," said Favas, a member of the Students Federation of India (SFI) in JNU. 

On January 23, the JNU students union had also sent an e-mail to the registrar stating that they are scheduling a screening of the documentary. “By screening the documentary, we do not seek to create any form of disharmony. The purpose of screening is only to watch the documentary on campus. Only the students with voluntary interest would take part in the screening,” the union had said in their mail. 

Meanwhile, members of the SFI in JNU allege that the University administration has used jammers in the campus as well as many of the students are finding it difficult to access the internet connection as well. “Earlier, ABVP (students organisation of the BJP) had said that they would not allow the screening to happen. However, now the administration themselves has come to their rescue by cutting electricity. Just three days back, the same administration allowed ABVP to screen ‘Kashmir Files’ without any objections,” Favas adds. 

On January 23, the JNU administration had issued an advisory stating that no prior permission had been taken for the screening and that the event should  be cancelled. “It has come to the notice of the administration that a group of students in the name of JNUSU released a pamphlet for screening a documentary/movie "India: The Modi Question" scheduled for 24th January. 2023 at 9:00 p.m. in Teflas. No prior permission for this event has been taken from the JNU Administration.,” the statement read. “This is to emphasize that such an unauthorized activity may disturb peace and harmony of the University Campus. The concerned students/individuals are firmly advised to cancel the proposed programme immediately failing which a strict disciplinary action may be initiated as per the University rules. This issues with the approval of the Competent Authority,” it added. 

The Union government has exercised the emergency power under Rule 16 of the IT Rules 2021 to have the BBC documentary blocked across social media platforms in India. The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) also called the film prejudiced and alleged that it showed a continued colonial mindset.

 
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