NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s top university cut power and internet on Tuesday before the student union screened a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which India dismissed as propaganda. It was cut off, broadcaster NDTV reported. .
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the capital New Delhi has threatened disciplinary action if the documentary is screened, saying it could disrupt peace and harmony on campus.
Modi’s government blocked the broadcast of the documentary, which it deemed a “propaganda piece” and questioned Modi’s leadership during the 2002 mass riots in his home state of Gujarat. We have also banned the sharing of clips on social media in India.
Modi was the chief minister of the western state, most of them Muslim, during the violence that killed more than 2,000 people.
The student union of the JNU, long regarded as a stronghold of left-wing politics, will screen the documentary India: The Modi Issue at 9:00 pm (1530 GMT).
A person who was with students on campus said the documentary was being watched on mobile phones after the blackout, via a link shared on Telegram and Vimeo (VMEO.O).
“Roughly 300 people on campus are now streaming the documentary on their mobile phones since the power went out about 30 minutes before the screening,” a person who requested anonymity told Reuters.
Footage from inside the campus showed several students gathered together watching a movie on laptops propped up against chairs.
The JNU media coordinator did not comment when asked about the internet outage and reports of power outages on campus. According to government officials, power lines were cut off at facilities such as the teachers’ dormitory, and an investigation is underway.
University officials have previously said they did not grant permission to screen the documentary.
“This is to emphasize that such unauthorized activities may disturb the peace and harmony on the university campus.”
“The students/individuals involved are strongly advised to cancel the proposed program immediately if strict disciplinary action may be initiated in accordance with university regulations.”
Trade union president Ayse Ghosh called on students to participate in the screening via Twitter, explaining that it was “banned” by the “elected government” of the largest “democracy”.
Ghosh did not respond to calls or messages after reports of a power outage on campus emerged.
Police said their vigilance was increased following a request from the campus.
The documentary was also screened on several campuses in the Communist Party-controlled southern state of Kerala, the Hindu newspaper reported.
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs did not respond to requests for comment on the government’s plans for the film to be screened in JNU and Kerala.
In 2002, riots in Gujarat erupted after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59 people. In 2017, he was sentenced to life imprisonment by 11 men for setting fire to a train.
Modi denied charges that he did not take sufficient action to stop the riots and was acquitted following a Supreme Court-supervised investigation in 2012. Another petition questioning his exoneration was rejected last year.
Last week, the BBC said the documentary was “very rigorously researched” and contained a wide range of voices and opinions, including responses from members of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. .
Reported by Sudipto Ganguly, Shivam Patel and Rupam Jain. Additional reporting by Krishn Kaushik.Edited by Robert Barthel and Clarence Fernandez
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