A students’ group at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday went ahead with the screening of a documentary on beef-eating habit, despite the administration having refused permission for the same earlier.
The film made its way into the ongoing beef debate earlier in the week after the ministry of information and broadcasting refused clearance for its screening at an ongoing film festival.
‘Caste on the Menu Card’ was the only documentary among 35 others that failed to get an exemption from certification (given to documentary films) for a screening at the 12th Jeevika Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival organised by the Centre for Civil Society.
JNU’s Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (BAPSA) said that the administration had given them permission to hold the screening at the lawns of Sabarmati hostel followed by a discussion. But the permission was cancelled on Sunday afternoon.
“We had permission to screen the movie in Sabarmati lawns which was later cancelled. This is wrong and that is why we went ahead with the screening. There must be political pressure from higher authorities to not let the screening happen. Why did they give permission if there were issues of jurisdiction?” said Chinmay Mahanand, a PhD student in the school of international studies.
However, Deo Shankar Navin, warden of the hostel, said that permission was cancelled because the students were screening the movie in an area which was beyond his jurisdiction. “They are screening the movie in lawns of the hostel. When I gave permission yesterday, I wasn’t aware that the area is not under my jurisdiction but today I came to know,” he said.
Navin also denied allegations that there was political pressure on him. “There is no pressure from anywhere. I don’t even know what the movie is about,” he said.
The 21-minute film, made by five students of the school of media and cultural studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), focuses on beef-eating habits in Mumbai.