A new set of protests have recently erupted at the Hyderabad Central University. A collision between the police and the students erupted on the campus when the police decided to storm into the university campus and take six students into custody for screening Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Ram Ke Naam.
The film screening had been taking place in the Sociology department of the university and several students had been attending the screening of this documentary.
The police barged into the campus because the administration alleged that the students’ body had not taken due permission for screening the documentary.
The students however denied the claim made by the administration and said that the documentary was being screened only after they had taken permission from the administration.
The police entered the lecture hall when the documentary was being screened and detained six students and confiscated their laptops. This erupted into a massive protest by the students and they demanded the immediate release of the fellow students.
We have seen similar protests across university campuses when the students and the police have been at loggerheads over the screening of controversial documentaries.
In January 2019, we saw how even during the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary The Father, Son and the Holy War at the University of Delhi there was a massive collision between the police and the students.
The police had alleged that the film was ‘anti-national’ in nature.
In 2015, the screening of the documentary film Muzaffarnagar Baki Hai by Nakul Singh Sawhney also faced resistance from the ABVP as they went to the Kirori Mal College of University of Delhi to stop the screening as they claimed the film promoted anti-Hindu sentiments.
The recent years have seen several such cases when the students and the university administrations have been in conflict over the screening of controversial political documentaries.
Such instances point towards the growing culture of selective censorship on our university campuses and also towards an unhealthy and non-dialogic atmosphere in our universities.