India’s apex court, The Supreme Court of India, rejected a plea to ban BBC for screening the controversial documentary ‘India the Mody Question’. The two-member bench rejected the notion citing that the writ petition is entirely misconceived and has no merit. Earlier, the Government of India blocked the YouTube links of this controversial documentary using emergency powers, resulting in massive dissent, especially from universities.
The controversial documentary from the British Broadcasting Corporation consists of two episodes discussing the gut-wrenching riots in Gujarat in 2002. It is alleged that the then Gujarat Chief Minister and the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, conspired with the perpetrators and turned a blind eye when Hindu extremists ran riots against the Muslims.
The official death toll of the incident was around a thousand, whereas the unofficial toll, according to Human Rights Watch, rose well over two thousand. The Supreme Court gave Clean Chit to Mr Modi last year, thus exonerating him of all crimes related to the Gujarat riots of 2002.
The riots in Gujarat started with an extraordinary event of setting fire to a train coach of Sabarmati Express, which consisted of Hindu pilgrims travelling from Ayodhya. Fifty-nine people were burnt alive, most of whom were women and children. Raging in vengeance, the Hindu extremists ran riots against the Muslims, a classic example of ethnic cleansing, as explained by Christopher Jafferlot in this BBC documentary. It killed almost a thousand Muslims and injured and displaced a much higher number. According to the former Additional Director General of Police, RB Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt IPS, a larger conspiracy was there, with Mr Modi being one of the perpetrators of the riots. Both officers are currently under the bar for different cases.
The role of Modi in the Gujarat riots is contested even after the verdicts, but it did boost his pan-Indian level political figure. Ever since the riots in Gujarat, he contested three elections from Gujarat and won all of them, cementing the throne of chief minister of Gujarat. His pro-Hindu and anti-Muslim approach gained massive popularity across the country, which helped him dearly in the 2014 general elections. With Modi being the Prime Ministerial candidate, BJP worked magic across India as they won the elections with a thumping majority. He repeated the feat in 2019 as well.
Earlier, across India, majorly in universities, students trying to show the banned documentary led to clashes between students and authorities, even leading to the suspension. At Pondicherry University, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) affiliated student organisation ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) tried to stop the screening of the documentary by SFI (Students Federation of India) activists, which led to a clash between both sides. Injuries were reported from both sides. The Central University of Rajasthan suspended eleven students for screening the same documentary. Despite hostile attitudes from authorities, students screened the documentary in major universities across India. The external affairs ministry of India went an all-out criticism against the documentary calling it a propaganda piece. “We think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity and, frankly, a continuing colonial mindset is blatantly visible. If anything, this 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, and frankly, we do not wish to dignify such efforts”. remarked by Arindam Bagchi, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Home minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have not commented on the documentary until now.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in