Delhi: Days after the information and broadcasting ministry denied permission for screening to three documentaries at the 10th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) has decided to screen two of the three films in at least 150 campuses across the state.
The three documentaries deal with the JNU protests, the unrest in Kashmir and the suicide of Rohith Vemula.
In a press release, SFI, the student wing of CPI(M), said, “India is a land of diversity, not of bans. The denial of permission to screen the films is part of the Sangh Parivar agenda, which has been implemented throughout the country”. The screenings will be held throughout the week.
Issued by SFI state president Jaik C. Thomas and secretary M. Bijin, the press release said: “The festival has been going on for the last 10 years. It is a gathering of artistes and cultural activists who hold different views. The festival is also a mark of the diversity of India, and the RSS is infringing on this diversity. There have been agitations in the JNU campus after February 9, 2016, that have attracted nationwide attention. Kathu Lukose’s documentary, March, March, March, narrates the story of this agitation. The Unbearable Being of Lightness directed by P.N. Ramachandra shows the story of the martyrdom of Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad. The agenda behind banning these films is to eliminate campus agitations from the history of the country.”
“Today in all campuses, the banned films will be screened. We will be raising the slogan – India is a land of diversity, not of bans,” the release went on to state.
To protest the denial of the certificate of exemption to three documentaries, over 100 filmmakers wrote a letter to IB minister M. Venkaiah Naidu. “It is also clear that the government of the day is resorting to draconian action to stifle all such political debate and indeed Article 19 of our constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression to every citizen of this country,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, the ABVP has protested against the SFI screenings. Thomas said the ABVP had agitated against a screening at Sanskrit College on Monday, reported The News Minute.
While two of the ‘banned’ films – In the shade of the fallen chinar and The unbearable being of lightness – will be screened on Tuesday, the third film, March, March, March will not be screened due to technical reasons. Speaking to The News Minute, Kathu Lukose, the director of March, March, March, said, “Unlike the other two films, I haven’t uploaded my film anywhere yet. It won’t be screened at the campuses today.”