With the students' union election just a month away, the RSS-backed ABVP screened a 'documentary' on the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Monday. Directed by journalist Vivek Sinha, the 36-minute-long documentary titled 'Muzaffarnagar, Aakhir Kyon?' suggests that the riots stemmed from sexual harassment of women by some minority community youths.
"If you have a mother, sister, wife or sister-in-law, will you tolerate anyone harassing, gang-raping or kidnapping them if they go outside? If anyone says that (they will do so), what will you do," Vivek Sinha asked the students at the screening, reported The Telegraph.
Sinha told the 100 odd students who were present there that suppression of such incidents where an alleged "systematic attack" took place on "Hindu women", was the reason he made the documentary.
Saurabh Sharma, an ABVP leader said that the film was screened so the JNU students can learn about the 'truth'. "Till now, only a one-sided picture of the riots has been painted. By screening this film, we wanted to question why such incidents of Hindu women being harassed were being suppressed and love jihad was being perpetuated," he told Indian Express.
Now while there was no problem with the screening of this film, another documentary on the riots --Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai -- was denied permission in August, 2015.
The documentary by Nakul Sawhney showed how the Samajwadi government of Uttar Pradesh did little to check the communal frenzy whipped up around rumours that Jat women's "honour" was at risk. Later, Sawhney was attacked at Delhi University, allegedly by ABVP activists. The incident had led to protests at Hyderabad University as well.
Calling Sinha's interaction "hate speech", JNUSU president wrote on Facebook, "Hear new gyaan from ABVP. Harassment of girls leads to riots. Communalising gender issues so shamefully! Jab Varnika Kundu ki harassment Vikas Barala karta hai, tab kaunsi community ke khilaf danga kare?"
Shehla Rashid, an Mphil student at JNU also called out Sinha's speech and said that it was only spreading hate.
Rashid also pointed out the double standard of the administration when it came to screening of the two films on the same subject.
University administrations do not allow screening of 'Muzaffarnagar Baqi Hai', but allow 'Muzaffarnagar Akhir Kyon' + these hateful speeches
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) August 22, 2017
In 2015, after the screening of Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai- was disrupted, JNU had sent a notice to Anirban Bhattacharya and Umar Khalid for their alleged participation in the screening of a film. The screening of the film made by an FTII alumnus was disrupted after 20-30 guards stood in front of the screen saying that the authorities did not grant them permission to host the event.
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