New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration on Saturday “firmly” advised the students’ union to cancel the screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’ documentary, saying “such an unauthorised activity may disturb communal harmony and peaceful environment” of the campus.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), however, said that it will go ahead with the screening at 9 pm on Saturday.
The maker of the documentary film, Anand Patwardhan, also sent a solidarity message to the students and said they have full right to show the film since it has a ‘U’ certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
In a circular, the JNU registrar said, “It has come to the notice of the undersigned that a group of students have in the name of JNUSU released a pamphlet for screening a documentary/movie ‘Ram Ke Naam’ scheduled for tonight at 9:30 pm in Teflas (student union hall).”
The university administration said no prior permission for the event was taken from it.
“This is to emphasise that such an unauthorised activity may disturb communal harmony and peaceful environment of the university campus.
The concerned students/individuals are firmly advised to cancel the proposed program immediately failing which a strict disciplinary action as per the university rules may be initiated against those responsible for this event. The students are also instructed not to get provoked by this pamphlet, which is unauthorised and unwarranted,” the circular read.
‘Ram ke Naam’, a 1992 documentary by Patwardhan, explores the campaign to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, in a Facebook post, said they have scheduled a screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’ at the union hall.
“So the puppet body of this RSS-BJP has come out with a circular that this documentary screening is unauthorised and might disturb the communal harmony. ‘Ram ke Naam’ shows the truth, what is BJP doing in this country and how communal hatred is spread in this secular country by the right-wing fundamentalists,” she alleged.
“The JNUSU will not back out at any cost. This screening will happen and we request the JNU student community to participate in huge numbers at 9 pm for watching this documentary,” she said.
JNUSU vice president Saket Moon said the university administration cannot decide what the students will watch.
“December 6 will be the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition. We decided to hold the screening of the documentary. The university administration cannot decide what students will watch. The documentary is in the public domain, freely available on Youtube and has also won awards,” he said.
Ghosh shared a video message from Patwardhan.
“I would like to congratulate JNU that their students have decided to go ahead with the screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’ despite the administration asking them not to. You have full right to showcase the film. The film has ‘U’ certificate from CBFC. It won the National Award in 1992 for Best Investigative documentary,” Patwardhan said in his message in Hindi.
“It was telecast on Doordarshan at prime time 9 pm after the High Court ordered it. One more channel showed it after the Allahabad High Court judgement. Everyone in the country has watched this film. Maybe the new generation might not have seen it. This film cannot be stopped. It can be stopped if the country is overtaken by fascism. Till now fascism has not come in the country fully and the film screening cannot be stopped,” he added.