‘Ram ke Naam’ screened at Presidency despite objections

Kolkata: Despite denial of permission, a section of students at the Presidency University (PU) on Friday screened ‘Ram ke Naam’, a 1992 documentary based on Babri Masjid demolition, in the badminton court on the campus.

The portico of the University’s main building, which has witnessed several students’ protests in the past, was initially picked as the venue for the screening after the authorities had turned down permission for the event, calling the film “politically controversial”. However, the students had to change the venue at the last moment.

“Though the authorities cut power supply to our initial venue, we successfully screened the documentary in the badminton court of Presidency University,” Sayan Chakraborty, a student of PU’s economics department, told IANS.

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He revealed that nearly 150 students attended the screening. Also, eminent film and theatre personalities like Aparna Sen and Kaushik Sen had sent their message of solidarity.

“Presidency will not tolerate communal polarisation on the campus. The fascist forces may be daydreaming of penetrating the campus through the authorities, but the students will stand as barricade,” Chakraborty said.

He had earlier said that some students had planned to screen the documentary on Monday. “The hall was also sanctioned, but as per the norms, we should have been given a receipt. We didn’t get that and on Saturday we were told that the hall was not meant for such screenings.”

On Tuesday, the students approached the Dean of Students and re-applied for permission to screen the documentary in a university hall. The students also provided the details of the national award winning documentary directed by filmmaker Anand Patwardhan.

“The Dean termed the film as “politically controversial” to decline our proposal and said that ‘such films cannot be screened’. The students were asked to screen a ‘non-political’ film instead,” PU students said in a press release.

In Jadavpur University, the students of the film studies department had successfully screened the documentary on campus on Monday without any interference by the administration.

Earlier this month, six students of Hyderabad University were detained by the police for trying to screen the documentary without the requisite permission from the authorities.

‘Ram ke Naam’ explores the campaign waged by Vishva Hindu Parishad to build a Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and the communal violence it triggered.

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