The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. The documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ questions PM Modi’s leadership as the state CM during the 2002 Gujarat riots when violence broke out following the burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in Godhra. The 2002 Gujarat riots had killed over 1,000 people, Muslims as well as Hindus.
The conclusion that the BBC arrives at, after supposedly rigorous research, is that Narendra Modi, as the chief minister of Gujarat, is patently responsible for the deaths of some 750 Muslims and some 250 Hindus in the riots. The BBC also alleges that there was an ethnic cleansing, and that a report by the British High Commission, prepared while the riots were going on, was an important part of the ‘rigorous research’.
The attempt to ‘ban’ this agenda driven documentary has the undesired effect to divert the attention from the content, and to the issue of freedom of expression, etc. It will now be assumed that the attempt to ‘ban’ actually proves the allegation made by the BBC.
That the documentary is a hit job by the BBC has been firmly stated by many respected people. Swapan Dasgupta, who was one of the pro-BJP persons interviewed for the documentary, and Lord Rami Ranger in Britain, have said it in so many words. When the content of the documentary was raised in the House of Commons in Britain, the country’s prime minister Rishi Sunak dismissed the characterisation of Modi, stating:
“Mr Speaker, the UK government’s position on this has been clear and long standing and hasn’t changed. Of course, we don’t tolerate persecution where it appears anywhere but I am not sure I agree at all with the characterisation that the honourable gentleman has put forward,”
It was originally an NDTV propaganda, that they ran for 12 long years, to malign the electorally elected CM of Gujrat, Narendra Modi. Even the British MP @BarryGardiner had given a dressing down to the venal agenda of NDTV Propagandist Nidhi Razdan, on prime time.
There have been other people who have also analyzed the content and have said that everything said in the documentary is completely opposite to what the Indian official investigation found and what the judiciary has pronounced. The documentary has been thrashed by everyone except the usual suspects – namely the members of the Khan Market Gang all over the world.
Like other such ‘bans’ the viewership of the documentary cannot be prevented. Most, not having access to those who have rubbished it, with facts and logic, will tend to believe what the documentary says. In effect, the purpose of the ‘ban’ will not be achieved.
In 1999, one Bhaskar Roy wrote: “Its phenomenal growth notwithstanding, the BJP has always lacked acceptability in that segment of society for which BBC and the Time magazine serve as a window to the world.” (The Times of India, September 16, 1999.) This segment of the society is today called the Khan Market Gang. Beyond it, their world view was always opposite to what the people have had to say. The BBC documentary is another desperate attempt to make the media house to think that they are still relevant.
There is the Hindu Parampara (tradition) of ‘purvapaksha and uttarpaksha’, a process of intellectual churning (manthan), that leads to enduring solutions to the problems that a society is always confronted with. The government should remove the ‘ban’ and let the documentary be discussed. The discussion will once again prove what is already known – that the BBC has deep bias against India, and that the supposed Modi question is another weapon that they think they have in their armory.
I am not suggesting that the Indian Government should do nothing. Since BBC is the British Govt. owned Public broadcaster, the Indian Govt must ask it’s counterpart in United Kingdom, as well as the British High Commission in India, to release the full report.
A report that should indicate – who and how many went to Gujarat to do the investigation; when did they conduct such investigation; whom did they seek permission in the Government of India; if not, is it a regular thing to do? Who in the Gujarat Govt did they meet; who amongst the non-government agencies and individuals did they meet and how were they selected for the interview/investigation; and whom did they submit report.
All these questions, must be asked, through official channel.
Banning it is a stupid, self defeating measure.