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India police detain students gathered to watch BBC documentary on Modi

NEW DELHI – Students were detained by Delhi police on Wednesday as they gathered to watch a recent BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom India dismissed as propaganda and blocked its streaming and sharing on social media.

It follows similar disruptions at a rally this week by students watching a documentary questioning Modi’s leadership during the deadly riots 20 years ago, some of which erupted into riots. bottom.

Modi, who is seeking a third term in next year’s election, was Chief Minister of Gujarat in February 2002. A suspected Muslim mob set fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in the worst incident of religious bloodshed in independent India.

At least 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, died in reprisal attacks across the state as crowds roamed the streets for days targeting minority groups. Activists have taken the toll to about 2,500, more than double that number.

Modi, who has denied accusations that he did not take sufficient action to stop the riots, was acquitted following a Supreme Court-supervised investigation in 2012. His exoneration petition was rejected last year.

The government said the BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ released last week was a biased ‘propaganda piece’ and blocked the sharing of the clip on social media.

The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) said Wednesday it plans to screen the documentary in all Indian states.

Mayuk Biswas, general secretary of the SFI, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) student body, said: “They won’t stop dissent.”

Prior to one of these screenings at Jamia Millia Islamiyah University in Delhi, 13 students were detained amidst a heavy police deployment. ‘ and said they didn’t have permission to put on the show.

“Those who try to disrupt the university’s discipline are unlikely to be released,” Najma Akhtar, the university’s vice-chancellor, told Reuters.

A day earlier, students at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University said bricks purported to be members of a right-wing group were thrown at them as they were about to watch the documentary.

Student leader Aishe Ghosh said she was watching the documentary on her mobile phone and laptop after a power outage occurred about 30 minutes before the scheduled screening.

The university refused permission and threatened disciplinary action if the documentary was screened.

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