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BBC Modi docu: 10 CURAJ students suspended after ABVP’s ‘list’

Ten students were suspended, for 14 days, by the Central University of Rajasthan (CURAJ) in Ajmer over watching the banned BBC documentary – India: The Modi Question.

According to reports, the students have been suspended from academics and hostels. While two were suspended on Friday (January 27), eight were suspended the next day.

However, the university authorities maintain that the students were suspended over disciplinary action.

Talking to The Indian Express, a suspended student said that they were watching the documentary on their phones.

“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 along with the police arrived. The ABVP students started shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and questioned us over the documentary. Around 8 pm, we dispersed,” the suspended student was quoted by The Indian Express.

The suspended student alleged that soon after they dispersed, at around 10 pm, the ABVP members marched into the hostel, covering their faces. “They cut off the electricity, shouted slogans and then threaten us with dire consequences,” the suspended student said, adding no assault took place.

According to some students, the suspension took place following a ‘list’ submitted by the ABVP. People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said that among the 10 suspended students, eight are Muslim, one is Christian and one is Hindu.

“There was no screening on January 26. Students were watching the documentary on their phones which is a personal matter. The suspension order is a direct attack on the right of an individual’s privacy,” a PUCL member said.

The PUCL has shot off a letter to the vice-chancellor Anand Bhalerao stating the suspension was communal. “The students were never heard. No enquiry gave them a hearing and without the students being given a right to hearing and without being issued show cause notices, they were expelled for 15 days from the university and hostel,” the letter stated.

“The authorities should be protecting and defending the freedom of speech and expression of the students as a part of the right to education and critical thinking,” the letter said.

ABVP president for CURAJ, Vikash Pathak told The Indian Express the screening that was conducted by the Student Federation of India (SFI) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).

Pathak alleged that when they tried to ‘reason out’ why the documentary should not be screened as it was banned by the government when SFI and NSUI students started arguing.

When asked about the threatening calls made on the hostel premises by ABVP, Pathak denied the claim. “Nothing like that happened. They are merely trying to digress from the accusations against them. They should own up to their mistake,” he said as quoted by The Indian Express.

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