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Presidency University authorities, students lock horns over screening of documentary on Babri mosque demolition

Presidency University authorities, students lock horns over screening of documentary on Babri mosque demolition

Kolkata, Aug 28 (PTI) A section of students of Presidency University on Wednesday declared they will organise an open air screening of 'Ram Ke Naam', a 1992 documentary based on Babri Masjid demolition, on its premises after being denied permission by varsity authorities to show it in its auditorium. The Dean of Students, Arun Maity, had told the students verbally that "such films cannot be screened" when they met him on Tuesday seeking permission to screen the documentary at the university auditorium, the spokesman for students, Sayan Chakraborty, claimed.He said that the students were asked to screen "a non-political film" instead. As a result the students have vowed to screen 'Ram Ke Naam', the documentary by Anand Patwardhan, Chakraborty said. "Nothing else will be screened," he said. "We will now screen it on August 30, in open air, at the campus portico where several sit-ins and fasts on various issues took place in the past," Chakraborty said on behalf of the student organising committee. The students say they had planned to screen the documentary at the university auditorium on Monday, August 26 but were denied permission. When they approached the dean of students for the second time on Tuesday, they were refused permission again. Maity had said on Tuesday that the institute is yet to confirm whether the students followed proper procedure to seek permission for screening the film in the auditorium. "The institute has a glorious past and has always stood for liberal expression of views. At the same time Presidency never supported any attempt to create division among people," a top varsity official said on Wednesday. The organising students maintained that screening of documentaries and discussions on various contemporary issues had taken place in the university in the past without any hindrance. The documentary, 'Ram ke Naam', explores the campaign by the Vishva Hindu Parishad to build a Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, as well as the subsequent communal violence. It was screened at Jadavpur University on Monday at the initiative of the students of its film studies department. The ABVP had objected to the screening of the documentary in JU in a protest note to the Registrar. There was no untoward incident during the screening on Monday, an official of Jadavpur University Teachers' Association had said. PTI SUS SBN RT