JNU cuts electricity as students try to screen BBC documentary on PM Modi

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The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) cut the electricity on the campus on Tuesday evening after a group of students tried to organise the screening of a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The university had on Monday asked the students to cancel the planned screening. However, the student union went ahead with the plan to screen the documentary.

The students in a letter to the administration said screening of the documentary was a voluntary action by the students who wish to watch it. They said by screening the documentary, the students do not seek to create any form of disharmony. “The purpose of the screening is only to watch the documentary on campus. Only the students with voluntary interest would take part in the screening,” the letter stated.

Ahead of the scheduled screening, police personnel were deployed outside the JNU campus. However, before the screening, the electricity was cut off inside the campus.
 
On Monday, the JNU registrar in an advisory said it had come to the notice that a group of students had in the name JNU Student Union released a pamphlet for screening a documentary. The registrar said no prior permission for this event had been taken from the administration.

“Such an unathorised activity may disturb peace and harmony of the University Campus,” the advisory said. “The concerned students/individuals are firmly advised to cancel the proposed programme immediately failing which a strict disciplinary action may be initiated as per the University rules,” the advisory said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has called the BBC documentary a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative.

Last week, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the bias, the lack of objectivity, and a continuing colonial mindset, are blatantly visible.

“If anything, this film or documentary is a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again. It makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it and frankly, we do not wish to dignify such efforts,” he said.