HYDERABAD: The University of Hyderabad authorities on Tuesday sought a report on a complaint that a group of students organised a screening of the BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots on the campus three days ago, a university spokesperson said.
The students, under the banner of “Fraternity Movement-HCU unit,” said in a Facebook post that they organised the screening of the documentary, “India: The Modi Question” on January 21 at Velivada, a makeshift memorial built at the shopping complex in memory of Rohit Vemula, a Dalit research scholar who died by suicide at his hostel seven years ago alleging caste discrimination on the campus.
A university spokesperson said on Tuesday that the students’ group hadn’t sought permission from the authorities before screening the documentary on January 21.
“Normally, they have to inform the Dean of Student Welfare and the security wing chief of the university for taking up any such activity. But this group has not asked for any such permission but went ahead with the screening,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that the university registrar called for a report from the Dean of Student Welfare and the security wing on the screening following a complaint from members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
“However, there was no law-and-order issue after the screening of the documentary. Everything is normal and peaceful,” the spokesperson said, adding that the university has not lodged any complaint with the police.
Pranav, an ABVP leader at the university, did not respond to calls and messages for his comment.
The central government on Saturday ordered social media companies and video-sharing service YouTube to take down the documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation which is critical of the role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat when sectarian violence claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people — mostly Muslims —after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was burned allegedly by a Muslim mob.
The external affairs ministry has dismissed the documentary as “propaganda”, saying the film reflected bias and a colonial mindset. “The bias, the lack of objectivity and frankly, a continuing colonial mindset is blatantly visible. If anything, this film or documentary is a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again.”
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Fraternity Movement which organised the screening of the documentary said its units in other universities will also screen the film. “When power is trying to mask the truth, it’s our duty to make the voice of truth and facts louder,” Shamseer Ibrahim, the group’s national president, said in a Facebook post.