A BBC documentary has sparked controversy in India by revisiting allegations against Prime Minister Modi from two decades ago. The documentary cites a confidential British government report that blamed Modi directly for the Gujarat riots that killed more than 1,000 Muslims.
The documentary, called India: The Modi Question, focuses on a series of events that occurred in 2002 when Modi was chief minister of the state. It explores tensions between India’s Hindu majority and its Muslim minority.
What Is The Documentary About?
The bbc documentary on modi, called India: The Modi Question, questions PM Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots in which nearly 1,000 Muslims were killed. The riots started when a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was burned. Modi’s state government was accused of encouraging the violence and directing police to stand aside while Muslim homes were attacked. Modi has denied any involvement in the riots and was cleared by a special investigation team in 2012. The documentary also alleges that Modi’s government has failed to protect India’s minority communities from attacks by hardline Hindu nationalists.
The BBC’s stance on the matter has upset the Indian government. They have called the documentary “disgusting” and accused the BBC of pursuing an anti-India agenda. They have even threatened to sever ties with the UK if the documentary is not removed from the airwaves in India.
While the allegations against Modi are not new, the documentary brings them together in one place and presents them in a compelling manner. It shows how the 2002 riots helped him rise to power and how he used them as a political tool to win the 2014 election. The documentary also highlights the role of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindutva organisation that supports Modi, in fuelling the riots.
Despite the protests from the Indian government, the BBC has refused to remove the documentary. They have said that they were following “the highest editorial standards”. The BBC has also promised to investigate the claims made in the documentary.
While it may be a grey area if someone decides to watch the documentary in their personal capacity, anyone who screens the documentary in a public setting will be in violation of the ban on its airing in India. This can lead to legal action against them. The only way around this would be for the organisers of the screening to hold the documentary as a private event. If they do this, they will need to ensure that the attendees are aware of the nature of the content of the film and consent to it.
Why Is The Documentary Controversial?
The BBC documentary questions Modi’s leadership during religious riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people died. It cites an unpublished British government report that found Modi “directly responsible” for the climate of impunity that enabled the violence. Modi has denied any involvement and has not apologised for the riots, which led to him being banned from entering the US, UK and Europe for years.
The documentary sparked an outrage from the Modi government, with officials accusing it of having an anti-Modi agenda and questioning its credibility. The Modi government also tried to block the film online and intimidated students who held screenings, leading to protests across the country.
However, the documentary was well received in the UK, with the Guardian calling it a “sober look at India’s Muslim population”. It has also been widely shared on social media in India. However, rightwing news outlets and politicians have criticised the BBC for its alleged bias against the Modi government, calling it a “hate campaign”.
A spokesperson for the BJP accused the BBC of having an anti-India agenda and called on the supreme court to ban the channel’s operations in India. But the court rejected the petition, and the BBC has stood by its reporting. It says the documentary was “rigorously researched according to highest editorial standards”.
The controversy has highlighted a growing divide between the world’s largest democracy and one of its closest allies, with many people calling for the BBC to be free to continue reporting on important issues in India.
The controversy also highlights dwindling democratic freedoms in the country. Indian tax officials raided the BBC’s offices in February and April, and an investigation was launched into alleged violations of foreign exchange laws. This has led to calls for the BBC to be more transparent about its funding. The BBC has responded by saying that it takes its independence seriously and is committed to investigating stories that matter to people worldwide. They say they will not be deterred by attempts to silence dissent and protect the safety of their staff.
Why Is The Documentary Banned In India?
The documentary focuses on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 anti-Muslim violence that left more than 1,000 people dead in his home state of Gujarat. It cites a report by the British Foreign Office that holds Modi “directly responsible for creating the climate of impunity that allowed the violence to take place.”
The Indian government ordered YouTube and Twitter to block access to the documentary, citing that it was a propaganda piece that lacked objectivity. However, many Indians have managed to circumvent the ban by using peer-to-peer sharing and other methods. The controversy has sparked debate about freedom of expression in India and the West’s relationship with the world’s fastest-growing democracy.
As the second part of the documentary airs in the UK, Indian lawmakers have questioned whether the BBC has breached its editorial independence by broadcasting it. One of India’s main opposition parties, the Congress, called on the BBC to issue an apology and say that the documentary was not unbiased. The government has dismissed the accusations as political interference.
Modi has used the controversy to reinforce his image as a strong leader who can be trusted by Western leaders, especially those seeking trade deals with India. The documentary, which has sparked a backlash in India, comes as the country’s economic influence grows, with the US and Europe eager to partner with it.
The ban on the documentary has been criticized by international organizations and rights groups. On Tuesday, a Pakistan-origin British MP raised the topic in parliament and was met with applause from MPs. But the issue has yet to reach a decision in India’s highest court.
The apex court has issued notices to the central and state governments as well as to YouTube and Twitter. The judges have asked both platforms to provide original records of the content removal request that they received from the government. A petition filed by journalist N Ram, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and lawyer Prashant Bhushan has alleged that the government is acting in violation of constitutional and statutory provisions. The apex court is expected to hear the case on February 3. The petitioners allege that the government’s actions are tantamount to censorship.
What Are The Implications For The BBC?
The two-part BBC documentary India: The Modi Question, which probes into Modi’s role during the 2002 Gujarat riots, has sparked controversy in both the United States and India. The BBC has received a lawsuit for defamation and has been blocked in India, where the government accuses the BBC of being biased against the country. While Modi has denied involvement in the riots, critics say that the documentary’s allegations are credible. The documentary is set to be screened in Washington, D.C., by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, days before Modi’s state visit to the United States.
The documentary has been met with resistance from Indian politicians and the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A petition was filed in India’s Supreme Court to ban the BBC from operating in the country, but it was dismissed. The government has also attempted to block YouTube and other sites from sharing clips from the BBC documentary. They have accused the BBC of being biased against India and exhibiting a colonial mindset.
A number of student groups across the country have sought to organize screenings of the documentary, but many have been met with resistance. They have been threatened with violence from rightwing groups and arrested for organizing unapproved events. Some colleges have even shut down their screenings of the documentary, but students are determined to continue with their plans.
One of the reasons why the documentary has been so controversial is because it revisits a dark chapter in Indian history. The riots in Gujarat in 2002 left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly Muslims. The BBC’s documentary alleges that Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time, ordered police to turn a blind eye to the violence. He has denied any involvement in the riots and a Supreme Court inquiry found insufficient evidence to prosecute him.
The BBC has stood by the documentary and defended it as “rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards.” They have also stated that they are trying to highlight important issues and challenge preconceived ideas. The documentary is a reminder that it is the job of the media to hold up a mirror to society and show us what we really are.
The BBC documentary on Modi provided a comprehensive examination of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life and political journey. It delved into his early years, rise to power, and policies as a polarizing figure. While offering insights into his leadership style, the documentary sparked debates about his impact on India’s socio-political landscape and international relations.
- Is the BBC documentary on Modi unbiased? The BBC, as a reputable news organization, aims to maintain impartiality in its reporting. However, the perception of bias can vary among viewers. It is essential for audiences to critically analyze the documentary, cross-referencing information from multiple sources for a more comprehensive understanding.
Did the documentary cover controversial aspects of Modi’s tenure? Yes, the documentary addressed some controversial aspects of Modi’s time in office, such as his handling of communal tensions and human rights concerns. It presented differing viewpoints from experts and critics, allowing viewers to form their opinions on these contentious issues