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Police and students clash in India as tensions rise over banned BBC Modi documentary

Tensions are rising in India after students and police got into a brawl over a BBC documentary that examined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

On Tuesday night, the UK screened the second and final part. authorities from the largest democracy tried to stop the controversial program being aired at its colleges, universities, and on social media.

While the government’s efforts have been criticized as an attack against press freedom, protests calling for its screening continue to spread.

Police clashed Wednesday with protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. A student group claimed it was planning to screen the banned documentary.

Image: Police at Jamia Millia Islamia University’s main gate. Pic by AP

As trouble flared, police with tear gas and riot gear stood outside the campus gates. At least six students were detained.

This is after Jawaharlal Nehru University in the capital cut power and internet access on Tuesday, just before the documentary was due to be shown by a student union. It was reportedly seen by hundreds of people on mobile phones and laptops.

After a student group showed the documentary, authorities at Hyderabad University in southern India launched an investigation.

According to the Students Federation of India, it intends to present the programme in all Indian states.

India’s federal government reblocked the BBC documentary and prohibited people from sharing clips via social media. It cited emergency powers under its information technology laws.

Twitter and YouTube agreed to the request and removed many of the links to the documentary.

India: The Modi question examines the role of the prime minister in the state of Gujarat, when he was chief minister. This was during the riots.

Image Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat

Official numbers show that more than 1,000 people were killed in the violence, most of which were Muslims. It started after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire and killed 59 people.

Human rights activists estimate that at least twice as many people died in the rioting.

Mr Modi denies that he failed stop violence.

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The suspicions that Modi had quietly supported the riots led to the UK, US, and EU refusing him visa. This decision has since been reversed.

Last week, India’s foreign ministry called the documentary “propaganda” and said it was intended to promote a discredit narrative.

The BBC stated that the programme was rigorously researched and included a wide variety of voices and opinions. It also said that the Indian government had “declined” to respond to the series.


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