TISS Mumbai students watch BBC documentary amid protest by BJP youth wing
The BJP youth wing demanded the screening of the documentary be cancelled and shouted slogans against the institute since they announced the screening
Despite protests and attempts at curbing the screening led by BJP's youth wing, over 200 students at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai successfully watched the controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots called 'India: The Modi Question', a police confirmed on Sunday.
Organised by the Progressive Students' Forum (PSF) of TISS, a mass-screening was scheduled to take place on Saturday at 7 PM. Activists of the BJP's youth wing had come to know of it and they reached outside the campus. They demanded the screening of the documentary be cancelled and shouted slogans against the institute.
Thus, due to disruptive protests by BJP's youth wing, warnings by the institute, and tight police security at campus, students resorted to collectively watching the documentary on their laptops and mobile phones at a decided time and venue.
The PSF shared a post on Instagram thanking the students for "joining in huge numbers and making the screening a grand success" on Saturday night.
"TISS Students Resisted the Threats from BJP and Watched BBC Documentary. TISS admin denied one screen, students arranged ten," said the PSF.
"Despite BJP's attack and maligning campaign upon TISS and the institute administration refusing any form of cooperation, close to 200+ students turned up in solidarity to our cause. There were 10 laptops streaming the documentary parallelly from various places of the campus. Groups of students were also streaming the documentary on their personal mobile phones. Collectively the students of TISS upheld our institution's culture of debate, discussion and, most importantly, dissent. Even as BJP goons threatened to violate the peace and tranquility of the institute, we gathered, protested, and in doing so, defended our right to free speech. We thank and salute all student organisations, the student union, and all other sections of TISS, for their active cooperation and support," read PSF's message.
The forum also thanked student organisations and all other sections of TISS for their "active cooperation and support."
Meanwhile, BJP Yuva Morcha Mumbai president Tajinder Singh Tiwana said, "Not only in the TISS, we will not allow the screening of the BBC documentary in Mumbai anywhere. The BBC is not above the judiciary and it (the documentary) is a conspiracy to spread negativity against the prime minister."
Over the past few days, students at many educational institutes, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Ambedkar University, Hyderabad University, Jamia Millia Islamia University have attempted to screen the controversial BBC documentary in the face of severe restraint from the Centre.
The Centre had last week 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.
With inputs from PTI