Sanjay Kak's controversial film Jashn-e-Azadi was screened amid tight security at Delhi School of Economics here on Thursday despite pressure from the police, misgivings of university authorities and threats of violence from Right-wing forces like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, which was responsible for the recent attack on civil rights activist Prashant Bhushan.
The Delhi University college was swarmed with police personnel in the afternoon as they checked the identity card of every visitor and turned away possible trouble-makers from the gate itself.
The organisers themselves took no chances and anyone wishing to enter the Sociology Department classroom, where the film was screened, had to pass through two layers of security comprising teachers and students.
When the news of ABVP members gathering near the Arts Faculty building to begin a protest march to the college reached the organisers, the doors of the classroom were locked and nobody was allowed to get out. Tempers ran high with many people wishing to leave the venue and the students blocking their way.
One-and-a-half hours into the screening, shouts of Bharat Mata Ki Jai resonated in the background as some ABVP members managed to break into the college premises notwithstanding the security cover. The police eventually escorted them out of the college after some more full-throated slogan shouting.
When the air cleared, Mr. Kak arrived through a back entrance and was finally able to discuss his film, which could not be screened at the Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune, in January because of threats from the ABVP. The last time the film was screened was at a Kolkata college canteen earlier this month.
The irked ABVP said it could only put up a token protest as it came to know about the screening at the last minute. “We met the Proctor later and have given the university one week's time to take action against the teachers and students responsible for the screening… failing which, we are going to protest very aggressively,” said ABVP secretary Rohit Chehel.