Police in India use drive to dam screening of BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Police in riot gear prevented college students from getting into a college in India’s capital on Wednesday to cease a deliberate screening of a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that has been banned within the nation. At the very least 4 folks had been reportedly arrested by police, together with officers in civilian garments, at Jamia Milia Islamia College.

India Modi BBC Documentary
Plainclothes police arrest a College students Federation of India activist exterior the Jamia Millia Islamia college in New Delhi, India, on January 25, 2023.

Manish Swarup/AP

College students at one other prime Delhi faculty, Jawaharlal Nehru College, stated energy and web connections had been lower the day prior to this to stop them from exhibiting the documentary on their campus.

Amongst different matters, the two-part documentary “India: The Modi Query,” examines Modi’s position in lethal spiritual riots that hit Gujarat in 2002, when he was the prime minister of the western Indian state. Greater than 1,000 Muslims had been killed by Hindu mobs throughout the riots, which broke out after 59 Hindu pilgrims died in a hearth on a prepare. Muslims had been accused of attacking the prepare.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) gestures throughout a swearing-in ceremony of Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel (L) after the Gujarat state meeting elections, in Gandhinagar, December 12, 2022.


Modi confronted accusations of complicity within the violence and giving a free hand to violent Hindu mobs to avenge the prepare incident.

The documentary additionally highlights a beforehand unpublished report, obtained by the BBC from the British Overseas Workplace, which raises questions on Modi’s actions throughout the spiritual riots.

The report claims that Modi was “instantly accountable” for a “local weather of impunity” that enabled the violence.

The documentary contains an interview with former British Overseas Secretary Jack Straw, who says {that a} British authorities inquiry on the time decided the violence by Hindu nationalists was aimed toward “cleaning” Muslims from Hindu areas, and that these efforts bore the “marks of ethnic cleaning.”

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Modi has at all times denied the fees, and greater than a decade later, in 2013, a Supreme Courtroom panel stated there was inadequate proof to prosecute him.

The Indian authorities banned the documentary final week, calling it a “propaganda piece designed to push a specific discredited narrative.”

“The bias and lack of objectivity and a blatantly continued colonial mentality is clearly seen,” Arindam Bagchi, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of Exterior Affairs, stated final week. “If something, this movie or documentary is a mirrored image on the company and people who’re once more peddling this narrative. It makes us query the aim of this train and the agenda behind it, and admittedly, we do not wish to dignify such efforts.”

Responding to the criticism, the BBC final week stated the documentary had been “rigorously researched”.

India Modi BBC Documentary
Police arrest activists of the College students Federation of India exterior the Jamia Millia Islamia college in New Delhi, India, on January 25, 2023.

Manish Swarup/AP

In a press release, the British public broadcaster stated the sequence examines “the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority and explores Mr Modi’s insurance policies in relation to these tensions.”

The BBC added that the Indian authorities was provided a proper of reply throughout the manufacturing of the documentary, however declined.

Whereas the documentary has not been formally launched in India, a number of opposition leaders and authorities critics have shared hyperlinks to it on social media.

Over the weekend, India’s Ministry of Data and Broadcasting invoked emergency powers underneath controversial “Data Expertise Guidelines” adopted in 2021 to order YouTube and Twitter to dam clips and hyperlinks to the documentary.

‚ÄúDistribution of movies @BBCWorld hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage, disguised as a ‘documentary’, on @YouTube and tweets sharing hyperlinks to the BBC documentary had been blocked underneath India’s sovereign legal guidelines and guidelines,” Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser on the Ministry of Data and Broadcasting, wrote on Twitter.

India Modi BBC Documentary
Safety personnel block the principle gate of Jamia Millia Islamia college in New Delhi, India, on January 25, 2023, amid tensions over a pupil group’s plan to indicate a banned documentary that examines Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s position throughout the 2002 vs. -Islamic riots.

Manish Swarup/AP

The 2021 know-how guidelines give the federal authorities energy to dam data “in case of emergency,” order speedy elimination of content material within the curiosity of India’s sovereignty, safety and pleasant relations with different nations, and “to keep up legislation and order.”

Opposition leaders and free speech activists stated the principles amounted to legalized censorship.

“Authorities on a navy foundation to make sure that nobody in India can watch a single @BBC present. Disgrace that the emperor and courtiers of the world’s largest democracy are so insecure,” Mahua Moitra, a member of the Indian parliament from the opposition celebration All India Trinamool Congress, stated on Twitter.

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