Kashmir film screening at Delhi University marred by protests

Nandini Thilak Posted: Feb 17, 2012 at 0201 hrs
New Delhi Delhi University’s Sociology department became the venue of much drama on Thursday over the screening of Jashn-e-Azadi, a documentary on Kashmir, when right-wing organisations raised objections over the content of the film.

The right-wing organisations claimed that the film “misrepresented the Army’s role in Jammu & Kashmir.

The film’s screening became a subject of discussion at the Delhi School of Economics after Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga of the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (BSKS), who had attacked advocate Prashant Bhushan for his statement on J&K, tweeted “Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena & other Nationalist’s Groups will stop today Sanjay Kak’s Jashn-e-Azadi (anti Army & pro Kashmir azadi movie) screening at Delhi School of Economics, DU(sic).”

The screening was organised by DSE’s Sociology department, in collaboration with the All India Students’ Association.

Earlier, the film’s screening was called off at Pune’s Symbiosis University following similar threats from right-wing groups.

By 10 am, police and the Delhi University security personnel had been deployed at the campus, and despite ABVP and the BSKS activists barging into the campus raising slogans, the movie screening began at 12 noon. Students of the Sociology department stood guard outside the room to prevent any disruption.

Halfway through the screening, around 10 protesters ran into the campus breaking the police cordon at the gate. They raised slogans in front of the department before dispersing. The documentary was followed by a discussion attended by its director, Sanjay Kak.

Rohit Chahal, state secretary of ABVP, who was leading the protest said the movie was “anti-national”. He said the organisation had written to the University Vice-Chancellor and the police against the screening.

“Our Army jawans risk their lives, and they are being shown as terrorists in the movie,” he said.

The ABVP leader said his organisation did not intend to disrupt the screening, but just voice its protest.

At least 20 policemen were deployed since morning. “We were not informed about the screening or the threat to disrupt it, we got a tip off and deployed police before the event started,” said DCP (North) I B Rani.

Head of Department of Sociology, Nandini Sundar, in a statement, described the screening as “peaceful”.