Indian university reports power cut ahead of Modi documentary screening

NEW DELHI, Jan 24 (Reuters) – An Indian university turned off electricity on Tuesday before its students’ union screened a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India had dismissed as propaganda, NDTV reported. And the internet was cut off on the university campus. .

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the capital, New Delhi, had threatened disciplinary action if the documentary was screened, saying it could disrupt peace and harmony on campus.

The Modi government has branded the documentary, which questioned his leadership during the deadly 2002 riots in the state of Gujarat, as a “propaganda piece”, blocking its broadcast as well as sharing any clips via social media in India. banned

Modi was chief minister of the western state, most of them Muslim, during the violence in which more than 2,000 people were killed.

The JNU Students’ Union, long seen as a bastion of left-wing politics, was scheduled to screen the documentary “India: The Modi Question” at 9 pm (1530 GMT).

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A person who was with the students on campus said the documentary was now being watched on cellphones after the power cut through links shared via Telegram and Vimeo (VMEO.O).

“There are about 300 people on campus right now playing the documentary on their phones because the power went out about half an hour before the screening,” the person, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

Images from inside the university campus show a number of students gathered together and watching a movie on a laptop on a chair.

JNU’s media coordinator did not comment when asked about reports of internet outages and power outages on campus. A source in the government said that a fault in the power line had cut off the accommodation of colleges and other facilities and the matter was being investigated.

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The university administration had earlier said that it had not given permission to show the documentary.

“This is to emphasize that such unauthorized activity may disturb the peace and harmony of the university campus,” the statement continued.

The students/persons concerned are advised to cancel the proposed program immediately, otherwise strict disciplinary action may be taken as per University rules.

Union President Ayesha Ghosh took to Twitter to urge students to participate in the demonstration, describing it as “banning” by the “elected government” from the biggest “democracy”.

Ghosh did not respond to phone calls and text messages after reports of a power outage on the campus.

The police said: Police vigilance increased after the request from the university.

The documentary was also screened at some universities in the communist-ruled southern state of Kerala, The Hindu reported.

India’s home ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the government’s plans if the film is screened in JNU and Kerala.

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Violence erupted in Gujarat in 2002 after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59 people. The crowd later rioted in Muslim neighborhoods. In 2017, 11 men were sentenced to life in prison for setting fire to a train.

Modi has denied charges that he did not do enough to stop the riots and was acquitted in 2012 after an inquiry by the Supreme Court. Another petition challenging his acquittal was dismissed last year.

Last week, the BBC said the documentary was “heavily researched” and included a wide range of voices and opinions, including responses from people in Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly, Shivam Patel and Rupam Jain. Additional reporting by Krishan Kaushik; Edited by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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