The two-part controversial BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question”, has been making news across the political lines. Not just that, Universities pan India are making all efforts in it’s successful screening despite all hurdles. The documentary criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s relation with Indian Muslims and his role as the chief minister of Gujarat when more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire allegedly by a Muslim mob at Godhra On February 27, 2002.
Though the Indian government has firmly criticised the documentary stating that it lacked objectivity and was propaganda. However, the BBC said it was “committed to highlighting important issues from around the world”.
The first part highlights Modi’s entry into politics, including his rise through the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to his appointment as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat. The report claims that Modi was “directly responsible” for the “climate of impunity” that enabled the violence. Modi has been clearly denying any role in the violence. In 2013, a Supreme Court panel also said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him. The MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “This is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, the lack of objectivity, and a continuing colonial mindset, is blatantly visible.” However, the BBC said: “The documentary series examines the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority and explores the politics of Modi in relation to those tensions.” It was “rigorously researched” and “a wide range of voices, witnesses and experts were approached, and we have featured a range of opinions, including responses from people in the BJP”, the broadcaster further added.
The report was part of an inquiry ordered by the then foreign secretary Jack Straw. It says that “the extent of violence was much greater than reported” and “the aim of the riots was to purge Muslims from Hindu areas”.
“These were very serious claims that Modi had played a proactive part in pulling back police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists. That was a particularly egregious example of political involvement to prevent police from doing their job to protect the Hindus and the Muslims,” Straw is heard saying in the documentary.
The second part of the documentary could potentially be even more inflammatory. It “examines the track record of Narendra Modi’s government following his re-election in 2019. A series of controversial policies – the removal of Kashmir’s special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Indian constitution and a citizenship law that many said treated Muslims unfairly – has been accompanied by reports of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindus,” according to the BBC episode description.
Whatever the reasons may be for the BBC to release the documentary, the attempts to malign the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a global stage is simply unthinkable! It is better to bury the decades old sad memories and to move on for the betterment of the Nation as one. On the positive note, the world has begun and already looking at India as the next superpower and that India is playing a crucial role at various levels on the global platform, such documentaries will have a short shelf-life!