Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai Students Union held a demonstration on campus Friday against Union government ban on two BBC documentaries critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and assaluts on students who conducted screenings of documentaries in universities across India.
The Students Union leaders handed out QR codes providing access to BBC films, Anand Patwardhan‘s award winning documentary Ram ke Nam and Maktoob documentary on Gujarat genocide ’Gujarat unhealed‘ by Shaheen Abdulla.
The students gathered despite TISS authorities‘ warning.
“It has come to our notice that some groups of students are planning to screen the BBC documentary that has created a disturbance in some parts of the country. Some plan to organise gatherings to protest against related developments in a few universities,“ read the circular issued by Prof Sasmita Palo, Officiating Registrar.
The Union is a coalition of the Ambedkarite Students’ Association, the Adivasi Students Forum, the Fraternity, the Northeast Students’ Forum and the Muslim Students Federation.
“This is to inform all the students that the institute has not permitted any such screening and gatherings which may disturb the academic environment and jeopardise the peace and harmony in our campuses,” read circular.
Meanwhile, Progressive Students’ Forum (PSF-TISS), a left students’ collective in TISS who announced the documentary screening on campus two days ago said: “Not an Inch back. TISS students will watch the documentary on 28th January at 7 PM.”
“PSF-TISS strongly condemns the TISS administration’s banning the screening or gathering around ”BBC documentary, India: The Modi question”. The admin’s argument that the screening or even discussion around the issue will affect the academic environment and peace of the institute is highly regressive, which goes against the ethos of the institute. As a social science institute, TISS has always fostered a culture of debate and dissent in the campus,” read their statement.
Another student group in the campus Fraternity TISS pasted posters on campus notice boards. The posters narrate the ordeal of Gujarat Muslim genocide survivors.
“The Modi govt has blood on its hands,” read the poster.
Muslim Students Federation also shared QR codes providing access to BBC documentaries. “Truth can’t be concealed,” they said.