New Delhi, Feb 16: Despite threats and attempt by right wing organizations, Delhi University today screened the much talked about documentary ‘Jashn-e-Azadi’ by film-maker Sanjay Kak.
“The film was peacefully screened in the department of sociology, followed by a discussion with the Director. Those who were opposed to the film were allowed to protest”, said Nandini Sundar, Head of Department Sociology. Two groups, one by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and another of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, held demonstrations and tried to enter the venue, but, were stopped by students from All India Students Association (AISA) and the department.
Protesting the screening, ABVP Delhi secretary Rohit Chahal alleged the documentary was “anti-national” and it depicted Army in poor light. “You can’t screen such movies here. It doesn’t even have a censor certificate. The movie is against our national integrity. We will become more aggressive if such screenings are not stopped,” Rohit said.
“You don’t need censor certificates for documentaries. The screening is well under all the laws of land. It is for educational purpose,” said Sudha Vasan, a professor in Sociology Department.
AISA, who organized the event, alleged that the University administration and the Delhi police tried to prevent the movie from being screened.
“Since early morning, the Delhi police kept calling the organizers stating that the Police has been receiving “threats” from ABVP and Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena. These forces openly told the Police that they would disrupt the screening, if it was allowed”, said Harshvardhan Tripathi Secretary DU, AISA. “Instead of giving protection and preventing the hooligans from the entering the premises of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi police kept pressurizing the organizers to cancel the screening,” Harshvardhan added.
When the administration tried to cancel the screening the organizers and Sociology department demanded that the DU administration give in writing details of legal and academic grounds on the basis of which the film screening should be canceled.
Unable to give any logical response to this, the DU administration changed its stand and in a written statement, it told the Sociology department that the film screening could carry on. Filmmaker Sanjay Kak applauded the organizers who stood in the face of right wing threats. “By defending their right to screen the film, the Delhi School of Economics has stood for the best traditions of academic independence. And by coming in large numbers despite the intimidation, students have shown themselves to that trust,” Kak said.
Today’s incident, is an exception, in the general trend, which is shown by organizers, who give in to right wing pressure. The documentary could not be screened earlier in January in Pune’s Symbiosis campus following protest by ABVP activists.