Members of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and a CPI(M) councillor were detained by the Chennai police when they squatted in protest on Thursday opposing the Union government’s ban on the BBC’s documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Last Saturday, the Union government ordered YouTube to take down copies of the documentary and asked Twitter to remove related posts on the ground that they posed a threat to the sovereignty of the country. Following the DYFI’s call for screening the video across streets, the members of DYFI Central District Committee unit, Chennai, led by its president T. Siddharthan and CPI(M) councillor A. Priyadharshini gathered in front of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Statue in T.P. Chathram to stage a protest in solidarity with other protesting students across the country. Around 20 of them squatted in protest before the statue and raised slogans against the Union government, accusing it of depriving people of the right to freedom of expression. They also watched the video on their mobile phones. Later, they were taken into custody, transported in a van and detained in JJ Indoor Stadium. L. Vignesh, executive committee member of DYFI said, “When we protested against the decision of the BJP-led Union government, police detained us until 5 p.m. Then we were released.”
However, the police said no case was booked against them. We did not arrest or detain them. They staged the protest and left the place on their own.