Hyderabad, August 20, 2019: Six students of University of Hyderabad were arrested on August 20 and taken to a police station for allegedly screening a documentary
The members of All India students association had sought permission from the dean of social sciences department to screen the documentary “Ram ke Naam” (in the name of Ram) by Anand Patwardhan in the university but were denied. Subsequently, they got the permission from the department of Sociology and began the screening at 3 pm.
Police came and stopped the screening and took six students and took them to the police station at Gachibowli.
A former scholar of the university told Twocircles.net, ”As soon the students were taken to the PS all others started protesting against this arrest. Universities are spaces where we all gather for lectures, discussions, documentary screenings and sharing our ideas. With this arrest the police want to instill fear in us. And soon such spaces will start shrinking.”
All other students also expressed that the arrest of their peers violated their rights and activities such as these should be encouraged not forcedly clamped. The students had no clue under what section their friends have been arrested and booked.
The students were released at 9 pm. One student said on the condition of anonymity that “The police abused us saying that we take drugs and indulge in sex and that we are not good students. They had seized the lap top through which we were screening but returned to us. The police personnel also manhandled the students and beat them up. One boy has suffered severe ear injury, I am afraid he may have lost his sense of hearing.”
The police told the students that they got a phone call informing them that the students were screening a documentary that can incite violence and is anti-Hindu.
“Ram ke Naam” is a 1992 documentary that explores the campaign waged by rightwing Hindu groups to build a Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, as well as the communal violence that it triggered. A couple of months after the documentary was released, the activists demolished the Babri Masjid in 1992, provoking further violence. The received several national and international awards.