BBC documentary on PM Modi ‘propaganda piece… colonial mindset blatantly visible’, says New Delhi

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP.

New Delhi: BBC documentary on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative”, said the country’s External Affairs Ministry on Thursday.

“… this is a propaganda piece, designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity and continuing colonial mindset is blatantly visible,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

Bagchi also said that the BBC documentary on the PM Modi will not be screened in India.

“If anything, this film or documentary is a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again. It makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it,” the Indian foreign affairs ministry spokesperson said, adding, “Frankly, we don’t wish to dignify such efforts.”

BBC documentary on PM Narendra Modi

BBC, the national broadcaster of the United Kingdom, released the first episode of two-part docu-series titled ‘India: The Modi Question’ on Tuesday on YouTube. After receiving flak and criticism, it was removed from video sharing platform the next day.

The second part of the docu-series is scheduled to be broadcast on January 24.

Though the docu-series was not screened in India, Indians outside slammed BBC for it.

UK PM Rishi Sunak criticises BBC

In the UK parliament, a Pakistan-origin British MP Imran Hussain raised the topic, but was in no time shot down by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Hussain in the House asked, “He (PM Modi) was, in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s own words, directly responsible for this violence. Given that hundreds were brutally killed and that families across India and the world, including here in the UK, are still without justice, does the prime minister agree with his diplomats in the foreign office that Modi was directly responsible and what more does the foreign office know of his involvement in this grave act of ethnic cleansing?”

Sunak retorted, “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 anywhere, but I am not sure I agree at all with the characterisation the honorable gentleman has put forward.”

Lord Rami Ranger, member of the UK House of Lords, slammed the BBC “biased reporting”.

“@BBCNews You have caused a great deal of hurt to over a billion Indians It insults a democratically elected@PMOIndia Indian Police and the Indian judiciary. We condemn the riots and loss of life and also condemn your biased reporting,” he said in a tweet.

Several Indian origin Twitter users slammed BBC and said that it should run a series on the 1943 Bengal famine, which left around three million people dead or dying of malnutrition or disease. A tweet said, “BBC should run a series on the Bengal Famine called ‘UK: The Churchill Question’.”

What BBC documentary on PM Modi is all about?

The description of the docu-series states: “A look at the tensions between Indian PM Narendra Modi and India’s Muslim minority, investigating claims about his role in 2002 riots that left over a thousand dead.”

The BBC states that the series will examine how Modi’s premiership has been “dogged by persistent allegations about the attitude of his government towards India’s Muslim population and a series of controversial policies implemented by him following his 2019 re-election, including the removal of Kashmir’s special status guaranteed under Article 370 and a citizenship law that many said treated Muslims unfairly, which has been accompanied by reports of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindus.”

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