Guwahati: Delhi’s two other top universities, Delhi University and Ambedkar University, were the latest to face similar treatment from the university administration and the police on Thursday, two days after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) cut off power and electricity to the campus to prevent students from screening a controversial BBC series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
At Delhi University’s Arts Faculty, where screening was planned, large gatherings were banned and authorities disconnected the power supply in Ambedkar University to stop another planned screening.
As a result, several students gathered to protest at both universities and were later detained by the police. The 24 students who were detained earlier for trying to screen the documentary at DU were confirmed by a senior police official.
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However, more students turned up later, asserting they would hold a public screening.
Sources in the Delhi University administration said that no mass screening or public screening will be allowed on campus but if students still want to watch it on their phones, they are allowed to do so.
Delhi Police was contacted and talks were held to persuade students to take back the call for the screening on their own.
Delhi University’s Proctor Rajni Abbi said she has written to Delhi Police on the matter and they will take action.
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Meanwhile, Jamia Millia Islamia suspended classes on Friday at the request of students and faculty members, just a day after vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar said that the university “completely foiled” the attempt made by some students to organise a screening.
13 students of the university were detained for creating a ruckus over organising a screening inside the campus.
Left student bodies of West Bengal have also planned to screen the documentary on the campuses of at least two universities in Kolkata. The Student Federation of India (SFI) screened the documentary at Jadavpur University on Thursday, without interference from the police.
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All India Students’ Association (AISA) has also decided to screen the documentary on the campus of Jadavpur University on Friday.
The US and UK have also commented on the ban, with the US State Department describing it as a matter of press freedom and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak distancing himself from the BBC documentary series, saying he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation” of his Indian counterpart.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) responded to the BBC series by claiming that it was entirely biased, even raising questions on “the purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it.”