Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
HYDERABAD — Telangana Police on Tuesday stopped the students of University of Hyderabad (UH) from screening national award-winning documentary Ram Ke Naam and detained six students from the campus.
Later, all the six students, who are associated with All India Student Association (AISA), were released after two professors of the university intervened.
“We were screening Anand Patwardhan’s movie Ram Ke Naam with prior permission from the sociology department. However, the department withdrew the permission right before the screening of the movie saying they don’t allow any political organisation to hold the programme there. We then shifted the venue to the sociology department after taking due permission from its head. While the screening was on, the Telangana Police turned up at the venue and stopped the programme citing lack of permission to do so,” Bhava Jan, one of the students detained by the police, said speaking to Caravan Daily.
Jan, a student of the Urdu department of the University, said on being showed written permission from the head of the sociology department, the police changed their tack and insisting on permission from the registrar. They snatched their laptop, detained six students and took them to the nearby police station. He informed that the police had beaten up one of his friends.
The police dubbed the film as ‘communal’ and the students countered it saying it was an award-winning movie. It received the National Film Award as the best investigative film and Filmfare award under the investigative documentary category. It depicts how the “Hindutva communal-fascist forces” have demolished the Babri Masjid. The film has been shown by the Doordarshan on prime time.
“Hindutva-Manuwadi forces don’t want to let us discuss these kinds of issues on the campus. They want to destroy the environment of debate and discussion in the campus,” averred Jan. He also alleged that the university administration is hand in gloves with Manuwadi forces of the RSS.
The students who were detained by the police are Nikhil, Arif, Vikas Raj, Vikas Kumar, and Sonal. They are from different departments of the university.
Justifying their action, Police officials from Cyberabad said, “Since the students had no permission from University authorities to screen the film, they were brought to the police station and counselled in the presence of their professors.”
They further said, “They were let them off as it was found that the students were not involved in any such (illegal) activities in the recent past with a warning against engaging in any activities that could disturb the atmosphere.”
After the students were detained for screening the movie, Student Islamic Organization (SIO) of UH issued a press statement condemning the detention and blamed alleged nexus between the Telegana police and a Hindutva student organisation for disruption of the screening.
A statement issued by the student outfit reads: “SIO of UH strongly condemns the disruption of the screening of the documentary organised by the AISA and the detaining of students by Telangana police. The Brahmanical Hindu-minded authoritarian administration in a nexus with the ABVP is killing the democratic space in the campus and is trying to muzzle dissenting voice.”
It also asked the administration how could it allow the police to enter the campus and called it ‘police raj’.
“The police entering the campus at the behest of the administration and stopping a programme forcibly is utterly shameful. We strongly question the ‘police raj’ in the campus. This is nothing short of an (un)declared an emergency,” the SIO said in its statement.
Fasih, a student of the University, said after the revocation of Kashmir’s special status, the university is facing the emergency-like situation. The administration is not allowing any organisation other than the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to conduct its programmes on the campus.