BBC documentary on PM Modi propaganda, continues colonial mindset: MEA
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday slammed the BBC documentary series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling it a propaganda piece furthering the colonial mindset which shouldn't be dignified with a response. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the two-part series called 'India: The Modi Question' has been designed to push a particular "discredited narrative" and it hasn't been screened in India.
Why does this story matter?
- The documentary reportedly delves into PM Modi's approach toward the Muslim community, the country's largest religious minority.
- The BBC is a quasi-owned entity of the UK government, which colonized India, among scores of other countries.
- The documentary is based on an unpublished report by a team of the UK government that investigated and held PM Modi directly responsible for the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Documentary removed from Youtube day after release
Bagchi said the documentary reflects BBC's agenda and it lacks objectivity. The first part of the documentary was released on Tuesday and was removed from Youtube on Wednesday. The episode traces Modi's rise in the BJP leading up to his election as the chief minister of Gujarat in 2001, followed by massive communal riots in 2002, which left over 2,000 dead.
Documentary claims Modi deliberately prevented police from containing violence
PM Modi has been dogged by allegations of deliberately not preventing the carnage, which the BJP leader has denied. The inquiry report says that PM Modi prevented the Gujarat Police from acting to contain the targeted violence against Muslims. The episode features a former senior diplomat saying that the violence was planned by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate.
Riots intended to purge Muslims, violence underreported: Documentary
It further says that the riots were politically motivated with the intent of "purging Muslims from Hindu-dominated areas" and the extent of the violence was grossly underreported. It says that the systemic violence bore "all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing". The inquiry team noted that the VHP and its allies couldn't have inflicted such damage without impunity from the government.
UK, US imposed diplomatic boycott on Modi for years
In view of Modi's failure to prevent the riots, the UK government imposed a diplomatic boycott on him, which ended in October 2012. The US also imposed a similar sanction on him denying him a visa from 2005 to 2014. A Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the riots found no prosecutable evidence against Modi and 63 others in its report in 2012.
Bilkis Bano case linked to the riots
It says that Muslim women were systemically raped during the riots. One such case is of Bilkis Bano, who was five months pregnant when her family was attacked by an angry mob that raped her and killed seven of her family members. Last year on Independence Day, the Gujarat government granted remission to 11 convicts in the case on grounds of "good behavior".