BBC does it again. A new BBC series called “India: The Modi Question” that puts under scrutiny PM Modi’s approach towards India’s Muslim population has fueled an unprecedented controversy, sparking backlash eminent citizens, including Retired Judges, Retired Bureaucrats including Ambassadors and Retired Armed forces officers.
The first episode of the two-part series aired on January 17, and the second part is due to be broadcast next week on January 24. “PM Modi’s premiership has been dogged by persistent allegations about the attitude of his Government towards India’s Muslim population. This series investigates these allegations and examines Modi’s backstory, as well as other questions about his politics when it comes to India’s largest religious minority,” BBC said.
In the first episode of the series, BBC investigates Modi’s rise through the ranks of the leading right-wing BJP, leading up to his appointment as the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat in 2001. That’s where the controversy starts. Modi’s term in Gujarat was tarnished by the 2002 Gujarat riots which were triggered when a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was burnt, with 59 people reported dead and the blame cast on Muslims.
“The episode examines in detail accusations that Mr Modi failed to take sufficient action to ensure the protection of Muslims during the riots and discovers new evidence provided to western diplomats who criticized his conduct and uncovers first-hand testimonies,” BBC said.
Highly biased documentary attracts fierce criticism
The series was the centre of fierce criticism and discussions on Social media as well. India’s Foreign Ministry also criticized a documentary about the prime minister Narendra Modi broadcast by the BBC. “The prejudice, the lack of objectivity and the persistent colonial mentality are blatantly visible,” the ministry spokesman said, Arindam Bagchi.
“If anything, this film or documentary is a reflection on the institution and people who are once again peddling this narrative. It makes us wonder about the purpose of this practice and the agenda behind it. Frankly, we do not wish to dignify such efforts,” the spokesman added.
The series, which holds Hindu nationalist Modi responsible for facilitating the anti-Muslim massacres, has drawn criticism over its “anti-India bias”, and “colonial tone”, to say the least. Elections are set to take place in India next year, and it seems BBC series has been released to influence pockets of urban population in India in relation to the upcoming 2024 elections.
Indian Govt blocks BBC’s malicious documentary
The Indian government has issued directions for blocking multiple videos and tweets sharing links to the BBC’s controversial documentary “India: The Modi Question”. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued orders for blocking multiple YouTube videos of the first episode of the BBC Documentary on PM Modi and the 2002 Gujarat Riots. It also asked Twitter to block over 50 tweets with links to these YouTube videos.
The directions were issued on Friday under the emergency powers of the ministry under IT Rules, 2021. As per the information, both YouTube and Twitter have complied with the directions. The contentious documentary has not been made available in India by BBC, but some YouTube channels uploaded it. The government has instructed YouTube to block the video if uploaded again.
Sharing the information on Twitter, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Kanchan Gupta on Saturday said that the documentary is ‘hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage’.
He mentioned that multiple ministries including the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs examined the ‘malicious documentary’. “They found that it is casting aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India, sowing divisions among various Indian communities, and making unsubstantiated allegations,” Gupta mentioned.
UK PM Rishi Sunak Defends PM Modi; Dismisses Pak-origin MP’s Claim
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come out in defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a controversial BBC documentary claimed that the British government was aware about the Indian leader having an alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Sunak said he does not agree with the characterisation of Prime Minister Modi by Pakistani-origin Imran Hussain, an Opposition Labour Party MP, when he asked if the British premier agreed with claims in the BBC programme that some UK Foreign Office diplomats believed that “Modi was directly responsible”.
During Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Hussain raised the claims made in the first part of ‘India: The Modi Question’ that UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) knew the “extent of Narendra Modi’s involvement”, then Gujarat chief minister, in the communal clashes that claimed hundreds of lives.
“The UK government’s position on that is clear and long standing, and it has not changed. Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterization that the hon. gentleman has put forward,” the British prime minister said.
Indian Opposition parties attacking Modi Govt
While the Indian Government is ridiculing this malicious propaganda of BBC against PM Modi and India. The leaders of opposition political parties have got a godsent opportunity to ripped into the Centre over the removal of the controversial BBC series from social media. Congress’s Gaurav Vallabh told reporters: “There is a scheme of the government of India called ‘Block in India’, like ‘Make in India’, ‘Startup India’. The government does not want difficult questions to be asked. If the BBC headquarters were in Delhi, the ED (Enforcement Directorate) might have been on their doorstep by now.”
Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien and Mahua Moitra both tweeted video links to the documentary. Calling it “censorship”, Mr O’Brien said Twitter had taken down his earlier post which had received “lakhs of views”. Today, he said another of his tweets has survived “for almost 3 days. WATCH”.
Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, known for her strong speeches in parliament, declared that the government is “insecure”. “Shame that the emperor & courtiers of the world’s largest democracy are so insecure (sic),” she tweeted. “Sorry, Haven’t been elected to represent world’s largest democracy to accept censorship. Here’s the link. Watch it while you can,” read a second tweet.
“In the age of VPN, how impactful are these bans under emergency clauses cited by the I&B Ministry to ban a BBC documentary. The more they pour scorn on it, write protest letters, the more people would be curious to watch,” tweeted Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Union law minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted saying “Some people in India still haven’t gotten over the colonial intoxication”. “They consider BBC above the Supreme Court of India and lower the country’s dignity and image to any extent to please their moral masters.”
Over 300 former judges, bureaucrats, and prominent citizens have slammed the BBC, saying it is the archetype of past British imperialism in India “setting itself up as both judge and jury to resurrect Hindu-Muslim tensions”. Prominent Indian-origin UK citizens have condemned the series. Prominent UK Citizen Lord Rami Ranger said the “BBC caused a great deal of hurt to over a billion Indians.”