The Delhi Police on Friday detained 24 students and imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) prohibiting gatherings outside the Faculty of Arts at the Delhi University after scores of students gathered there to watch the controversial BBC documentary.
Talking to media persons, Deputy Commissioner of Police, North, Sagar Singh Kalsi said that the situation is normal now. Earlier in the afternoon, a large number of security personnel were deployed outside the Faculty of Arts.
Kalsi said that at around 4 pm on Friday, some 20 persons came to the Arts Faculty Gate to screen the banned BBC documentary.
“As it can cause disturbance of peace in the area, they were asked to disperse from there. When they did not, they were peacefully detained. A total of 24 students were detained. The situation is normal at present,” the DCP said.
A call had been given by the NSUI-KSU for the screening of the BBC documentary. Students said the documentary was to be screened at Gate Number 4 of the Arts Department at 4 pm and 5 pm. The Delhi University authorities said they have not given permission for the screening.
Some students, however, watched the documentary on their laptops and mobiles.
“No mass screening or public screening will be allowed on the campus. However, if the students want to watch it on their phones, that is their discretion,” varsity sources said.
The police have been deployed in large numbers at the Arts Faculty after Proctor Rajni Abbi wrote to the police on the matter, and asked them to take action.
Earlier, some Left-wing students of the Dr BR Ambedkar University here staged a protest on Friday afternoon after electricity supply to the institute was snapped following an announcement to screen the documentary.
Friday’s protest came two days after the Delhi Police on Wednesday detained 13 students of Jamia Millia Islamia after the announcement to screen the documentary in the Mass Communication Department of the university.
According to Esha Pandey, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South-East, the screening was organised by a group of students despite no permission from the varsity administration. The classes at Jamia were also suspended on Friday.
The row further deepened after the JNUSU members allegedly faced a “deliberate” power outage, while they were screening the impugned BBC documentary at the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in the national capital.
On Monday the administration of the Jawaharlal Nehru University also warned against screening the BBC documentary on the campus after a group of students released a pamphlet inviting students to a screening of the documentary at the student’s union’s office at 9 pm on Tuesday (January 24).
The JNU Students Union wrote to the university administration over its firm advisory against the screening of the BBC documentary stating that they “do not seek to create any form of disharmony” and their purpose is to only watch it on the campus. It also mentioned in the letter that the students with “voluntary interest” would take part in the screening.
Later in the night, the JNU students marched toward Vasant Kunj police station claiming stone pelting by members of the ABVP while the said documentary was being screened. The protest was later called off after the police assured students of taking up the matter and looking into it immediately.