Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads India, the world’s largest democracy and a key ally of the US and UK. But he is dogged by allegations over his government’s treatment of the country’s Muslims.
The BBC recently aired a two-part documentary series examining these allegations, most notably in the context of the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in his home state of Gujarat. The Indian government has since banned the film from being shown in the country and used emergency powers to block clips on social media.
What’s In The Documentary?
For many people who have closely followed India’s political scene, the allegations raised in the BBC documentary about prime minister modi and his relationship with India’s Muslim community are not new. In fact, some have been covered in the media in the past. However, what this documentary does is bring together all of the evidence and facts in one place for people to see for themselves.
The two-part series, titled “India: The Modi Question,” examines claims that PM modi played a role in the Gujarat communal riots of 2002, which killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. During the riots, Modi was chief minister of the state of Gujarat. The riots began after the bombing of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims that killed dozens of people, was blamed on Muslims by Hindu mobs who then burned down and destroyed many Muslim-owned stores and homes.
After the riots, the UK government bbc documentary on modi a report, stating that the violence had all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing and that the Indian authorities were responsible. The BBC documentary obtained exclusive access to this document, as well as an interview with Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary at the time. The documentary also raises questions about the role of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Hindutva leaders and activists in fueling the riots and then supporting Modi’s rise within both the BJP and national politics.
As a result of the controversy surrounding the documentary, India’s government banned it from being shown in India and forced Twitter and YouTube to take down clips using emergency laws. This has sparked outrage among many citizens, including human rights groups.
Despite the controversy, the documentary has been successful in raising awareness about the issues it raises. It has even garnered international attention, and will be screened in the United States on June 20 in Washington, coinciding with the visit of PM modi to the country. The screening will be hosted by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In addition, several members of Congress will attend the event and discuss the current state of human rights in India with PM modi.
Why Is It Being Banned In India?
India is using the government’s emergency powers to block links and clips of a BBC documentary that criticizes Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his role in deadly riots more than 20 years ago. The documentary, titled India: The Modi Question, examines accusations that the PM failed to intervene effectively when violence broke out after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire in 2002 in Gujarat. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the ensuing riots. The BBC says it has found no evidence to support those claims. However, the Indian government disagrees. It has branded the documentary as “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage, disguised as a documentary,” and said it was created by those with a colonial mindset.
The government has imposed a ban on the broadcast of the two-part programme, which began in January, and blocked social media sharing of it. It says it is doing so to protect national security and public order. The BBC is appealing the decision.
But the ban has sparked anger among activists and left-wing political parties in the country, who plan to stage “wildcat” screenings of it. Some of them have even urged the government to use its police power to prevent them.
Despite the government’s attempt to censor it, the BBC documentary has gained international attention. It has been screened in the US, which is home to a large Indian diaspora, and in London. The UK parliament has also voted to back the BBC’s right to defend itself against allegations of bias.
The controversy over the documentary comes as India asserts itself on the world stage, presenting itself as a leader of global economic and military affairs and casting itself as the “mother of democracy.” But it is also a country that has a history of atrocities against minorities and a system of state-sponsored discrimination. Some western governments, including the US and UK, have been accused of turning a blind eye to these issues as they strike trade deals and form close alliances with Modi’s government. The documentary will be a reminder that the alleged oppression of India’s Muslims is real and that western governments have not done enough to address it.
What Is The BBC’s Motivation?
It seems clear that the BBC’s motivation for this documentary is to hurt PM Modi. This is especially true given that the timing of its release – just ahead of the 2024 elections in India – makes it all the more suspicious.
The documentary accuses the Prime Minister of complicity in the deadly sectarian violence that ripped through the state of Gujarat in 2002, while he was chief minister. It is alleged that he encouraged the mobs and directed police to stand back as Muslim homes were attacked. The accusations have dogged the PM for years and led to a US visa ban. However, he was cleared of any culpability by a special investigative team appointed by the Supreme Court in 2012.
In addition to focusing on Modi’s role in the riots, the two-part series also looks at the rising Hindu right-wing organisations such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. It reportedly exposes the links between these organisations and the BJP.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs has slammed the BBC documentary, describing it as a ‘propaganda piece’ designed to push a discredited narrative. It has asked YouTube and Twitter to remove the documentary and urged citizens to report any illegal uploads. This has sparked a major controversy between India and the UK at a diplomatic level.
The BBC has been criticised for politicising the film and seeking to censor the documentary in India. The decision to screen it in Kolkata’s Presidency University is highly questionable, and the BBC has been unable to obtain permission from the university authorities to screen the documentary. Students from the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s student wing SFI have been asked to hold screenings at other venues in the city.
The decision by the Indian government to impose a ban on the documentary is questionable and goes against freedom of expression as envisaged in our constitution. However, to screen it at an organised public event is a violation of the law and would make the organisers and audience liable to legal action. The right to freedom of expression only applies to personal viewing of the documentary.
Is It Biased?
India’s prime minister is one of the world’s most powerful leaders, but he has also been accused of discriminating against India’s Muslim population. This documentary explores the tension between Modi and the country’s Muslims, and examines how he rose to power on a wave of Hindu nationalism.
The documentary also discusses some of the controversial events that have happened under his leadership, such as the 2002 Gujarat riots. The riots were sparked by the burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, and they resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims. The documentary cites a secret report from the British foreign office that states that Modi was directly responsible for the violence.
Despite the fact that Modi was not present at the time of the riots, he has been accused of failing to do enough to stop them. He has denied the accusations, and a Supreme Court-ordered investigation found no evidence to support them.
The riots have led to severe repercussions for Modi and his government. The Indian media has called the documentary biased, and India’s government has tried to block sharing of it on social media. The BBC has defended the documentary, saying that it is based on a wide range of sources and includes interviews with witnesses and experts.
In addition, the documentary cites a secret report from Britain’s Foreign Office that calls Modi “directly responsible for the climate of impunity that allowed this terrible violence to happen.” It also reveals that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the extremist organization that led the riots, received substantial funding from the state government.
As a result of the documentary, the Indian government has attempted to block sharing of the video on social media and blocked access to the website where it was originally broadcast. However, some users have managed to get around the block by using a virtual private network.
In addition, the BBC’s offices have been raided by Indian tax officials in connection with the documentary. Human rights groups and press freedom bodies have criticized the raids, calling them an attack on free speech. They have urged the Indian authorities to cease harassing the BBC immediately.
The BBC documentary on Narendra Modi offers an in-depth exploration of the life and political career of one of India’s most prominent leaders. Through a comprehensive analysis of his rise to power, achievements, controversies, and impact on the country, the documentary provides valuable insights into the complex persona of Narendra Modi. While it showcases his role in implementing certain reforms and initiatives that have garnered praise both nationally and internationally, it also raises pertinent questions about his governance, human rights record, and handling of sensitive issues. The documentary serves as a thought-provoking piece that invites viewers to reflect on the multifaceted aspects of Modi’s leadership and its implications for India’s future.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
- Is the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi biased? Answer: The BBC documentary on Narendra Modi has been subject to debates regarding its objectivity and balance. While the documentary attempts to present a comprehensive view of Modi’s life and leadership, some critics argue that it may have certain biases, either in favor or against the leader. Like any piece of media content, it’s essential for viewers to approach the documentary with a critical mindset, cross-referencing information and seeking multiple perspectives to form an informed opinion.
- Does the documentary cover all aspects of Narendra Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister of India? Answer: The BBC documentary offers a detailed overview of key aspects of Narendra Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister of India. It delves into his political journey, policies, foreign relations, and achievements. However, given the complexity and vastness of Modi’s leadership and India’s diverse socio-political landscape, it is challenging for any single documentary to cover every aspect comprehensively. Some viewers might find that certain topics or events are not given as much attention as they would have liked. Nevertheless, the documentary succeeds in highlighting significant milestones and controversies during Modi’s time in office.