Hyderabad: The first part of BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots was screened by a student group of the University of Hyderabad. The group wants to show the second episode as well. The first screening inside the campus itself triggered a controversy.
Meanwhile, the university administration, claimed that the documentary was screened ‘without prior notice or permission’.
A group of students under the banner of Fraternity Movement, episode of the BBV documentary series, ‘India: The Modi Question’ on January 21 at the shopping complex on the north campus of University of Hyderabad. At least seventy to eighty students were present. Students affiliated with RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also visited the place and complained that “the broadcasting of this documentary was banned recently by the government of India”.
The varsity administration initiated a probe and a statement from Registrar of UoH Dr Devesh Nigam stated that the screening was held “without any prior notice or permission”.
However, defending the group which screened the documentary, UoH Students’ Union general secretary Gopi Swamy said there is no practice of seeking permission for holding an event in an open space. The permission is obtained from the administration only for holding events at designated halls and auditoriums. Abhishek Nandan, president of the students’ union also defended the group saying that they stood for freedom of speech and expression and would stand with the students who screened the documentary if the varsity decided to take any action.
Meanwhile, the Fraternity Movement condemned the unilateral directive issued by the Centre to certain online platforms to block the availability of the documentary. They claimed that it was a common practice in UoH to conduct the screenings and discussions in public places.
The group’s president Afzal Hussain and general secretary Haifa Banna in a statement stated, “As an unbanned documentary, we will check the possibility to screen the second part with the support of other students’ organisations and the students’ community on the campus.”
In response to the screening of BBC documentary ABVP screened The Kashmir Files at the campus.