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SFI Extends Solidarity to CURAJ Students Suspended over BBC Documentary Screening

The varsity suspended 11 students in connection with an alleged screening of the banned BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: National Herald

New Delhi: The Central University of Rajasthan (CURAJ) in Ajmer has suspended 11 students in connection with an alleged screening of the banned BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ on January 26.

Following the suspension orders, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) released a press statement extending solidarity with the suspended students and demanding the administration to immediately withdraw the suspension of the students.

In its statement, the student's organisation said, “The new two-part documentary series of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) ‘India: The Modi Question‘ focuses on the 2002 Gujarat pogrom that killed thousands and left millions homeless, especially in the Muslim community, and the role played by the then chief minister Narendra Modi’s government. Now the intolerant Modi government is trying to ban this documentary. Students' Federation of India will not accept the "censorship" in the world's largest democracy.”

Further, the statement read, “The suspension of students in Rajasthan Central University is the continuation of the attacks on students that happened just before in Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) for the same reason. The Sangh Parivar using the state power and the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), is unleashing
attacks on students and the other dissenting voices. They should step back from this.”

According to a report published in The Indian Express, as per a suspension order, the students have been suspended for 14 days from academics as well as the hostel. While two students were suspended on Friday, eight more were suspended on Saturday.

One of the suspended students quoted by The Indian Express said, “On January 26, some students had put up posters announcing that they would watch the documentary near the campus post office. So some of us gathered and watched it on our phones, not even on a laptop or a screen. Soon security arrived and the police were also called. Subsequently, students associated with the ABVP came and started shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and other slogans and questioned us over the documentary. So around 8 pm, we dispersed.”

However, CURAJ ABVP president Vikash Pathak said some students associated with the Students' Federation of India (SFI) and National Students Union of India (NSUI) had sent out invitations for the screening of the banned documentary on Gujarat riots near the canteen, following which the action was taken.

He said on January 26, around 40-50 students gathered and started watching the documentary in public on devices, including laptops. Later, the university administration and police arrived on the spot and a lot of sloganeering also took place against the Centre's ban on the documentary.

CURAJ authorities, however, said the action on the students has no connection with the screening of the documentary, calling it a routine disciplinary action against the students.

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