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BBC documentary row: Power cut at JNU; students allegedly attacked | 10 points

Several students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) late on Tuesday night marched to the Vasant Kunj police station in New Delhi to lodge a complaint against those who allegedly pelted stones while they were watching a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat riots on their mobile phones as the screening was not allowed by the varsity administration.

JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh alleged that Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a charge the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated student body, pelted stones during the screening on mobile phones, and a police complaint has been filed.

Here are top 10 updates on JNU ruckus over BBC documentary:

1. Several students, who gathered at the JNU students’ union office for the screening of ‘India: The Modi Question’ on Tuesday, claimed the varsity administration cut power and internet to stop the event, and staged a protest after stones were thrown at them.

2. Later in the night, raising slogans of “Inqlaab Zinadabad” and against the JNU administration, the protesting students marched to the Vasant Kunj Police station to lodge a complaint against the “stone pelters”.

3. “We filed a complaint, and the police assured us they will be immediately looking into the incident. We gave the name and details of all the persons involved. As of now, we are calling off the protest. We will also file a complaint at the JNU Proctor office,” news agency ANI quoted Aishe Ghosh as saying.

4. On the power cut at the campus, a JNU administration official, requesting anonymity told PTI, “There is a major (power) line fault at the university. We are looking into it. The engineering department is saying it will be resolved at the earliest.”

5. JNU vice-chancellor Santishree Pandit said an electricity outage affected some parts of the campus. “There was a major line fault. Even the faculty residences and other facilities are without light. The engineering wing is looking into the issue,” said Pandit. JNU teachers confirmed that electricity had snapped at the faculty residences.

6. On Monday, the JNU had in an advisory said the students’ union had not taken its permission for the event and it should be cancelled, warning of strict disciplinary action. However, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) in a statement had said there is no intention to create any form of disharmony through the screening of the documentary or movie.

7. Some media reports claimed that QR codes were circulated among students to watch the documentary on mobile phones. There are also videos circulating on social media claiming Ghosh had distributed the QR codes. HT independently couldn’t verify the authenticity of the videos.

8. Mohd Danish, joint secretary, JNUSU, said the administration cut off electricity access around 8.30pm. He said while the screening could not place through the projector, students used alternative devices to watch the documentary and resist the administration’s diktat.

9. The ABVP denied the allegation, saying they were not present at the spot. “We did not go the spot and no one from us (the students’ body) was there. They are just taking our names to get more coverage,” ABVP Delhi media convenor Ambuj told news agency PTI.

10. The Centre had on Friday directed social media platforms Twitter and YouTube to block links to the documentary. The Ministry of External Affairs has trashed the documentary as a “propaganda piece” that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset. The Opposition, however, has slammed the government’s move.

(With inputs from Sadia Akhtar in New Delhi)

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