Students allege stone-pelting as JNU outage stops film screening | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Students allege stone-pelting as JNU outage stops film screening

BySadia Akhtar
Jan 25, 2023 04:36 AM IST

JNUSU had announced the screening of the documentary on Monday even as the varsity administration warned of strict disciplinary action since the union did not seek the authorities’ permission for the event.

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students alleged on Tuesday that they were pelted with stones after a power outage on the campus prevented the screening of the BBC documentary India: The Modi Question.

Students stand outside the JNUSU office alleging that the JNU administration cut off electricity supply to prevent the screening of BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ on Tuesday. (PTI)
Students stand outside the JNUSU office alleging that the JNU administration cut off electricity supply to prevent the screening of BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ on Tuesday. (PTI)

The students blamed the administration for the outage, saying that power was deliberatedly cut, a charge denied by the university authorities. At the time of going to press, there were protests on the campus, which students marching to the Vasant Kunj police station, seeking an FIR on the incident.

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Several of the students watched the film on their mobile phones and laptops as the link was made available by the organisers of the screening. “Students were peacefully watching the documentary outside the JNUSU office when stones were pelted on us. We don’t know who threw the stones, but we are currently marching towards the north gate of the university to protest this disruption of a peaceful activity,” said Vinay, a JNU student.

Also read: Kerala: CPI(M) youth wing DYFI says will screen BBC documentary on PM Modi today

Police, meanwhile, said no violence was reported to them. “If we receive a complaint from any section of JNU, necessary legal action will be taken,” said deputy commissioner of police (southwest) Manoj C.

Santishree Pandit, the JNU VC, said that 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.

Ravikesh, the registrar, did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.

JNUSU had announced the screening of the documentary on Monday even as the varsity administration warned of strict disciplinary action since the union did not seek the authorities’ permission for the event. JNUSU, however, did not call off the screening and hundreds of students assembled at its office on Tuesday night.

Also read: 'Truth has a nasty habit of coming out': Rahul Gandhi on BBC documentary on PM

Mohd Danish, joint secretary, JNUSU, said that the administration cut off electricity access around 8.30pm. He said that while the screening could not place through the projector, students used alternative devices to watch the documentary and resist the administration’s diktat. “Around 8.30pm, the administration cut off the electricity in the Teflas area where the screening was supposed to take place. Other parts of the campus had electricity. Despite the disruption of electricity, hundreds of students watched the documentary on their phones and laptops outside the JNUSU office,” Danish alleged.

Another student who came for the screening said that the timing of the electricity outage indicated that the administration wanted to disrupt the film screening. “The timing is very convenient. The electricity was disconnected just before the screening. Other parts of the campus had electricity though,” said the student, who did not wish to be named.

Opposing the screening, ABVP said student organisations were acting as “British stooges”. “British-constructed narrative is coherent with the colonial mindset of British sepoys, of which many in the opposition, as well as so-called student organisations, are spreading a propaganda-driven BBC documentary in Indian educational institutions,” it said in a statement.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sadia Akhtar is a reporter at Hindustan Times where she covers education, heritage, and a range of feature stories. She also writes about refugee communities and tracks stories at the intersection of gender and social justice. Before joining HT's Delhi team, she reported from Gurugram and Mewat where she tracked politics, education, and heritage.

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