India has banned a controversial “documentary” of BBC, where this UK broadcast network has made notorious attempt of demonizing and defaming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by falsely claiming that Mr. Modi was involved in Gujarat riot two decades ago. Meanwhile, Islamists and so-called secularists in India and other parts of the world are terming this ban as an “assault of press freedom”.
A senior adviser for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said directions to block the documentary were issued using “emergency powers” available to the government under India’s information and technology rules.
“Videos sharing @BBCWorld hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage, disguised as ‘documentary’, on @YouTube and tweets sharing links to the BBC documentary have been blocked under India’s sovereign laws and rules”, senior adviser Kanchan Gupta wrote on Twitter on January 21, 2023, adding both YouTube and Twitter have complied with the order.
The two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question,” criticizes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat in 2002 when riots broke out between the state’s majority Hindus and minority Muslims.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi has called the documentary “a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative”.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference on January 19, 2023, Bagchi said: “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”.
In response, the BBC said in a statement shared on social media that the documentary was “rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards”.
Highest editorial standards? What “standards” BBC is referring to? The “standard” that it has been showing by promoting radical Islam, anti-Semitism and religious hatred? The “standards” that BBC follows in housing terror-supporters? What “standards” it has followed while giving massive promotion to Islamic State (ISIS) bride Shamima Begum through 10-episode special documentary?
It is witnessed with greatest dismay that following airing of BBC’s so-called documentary, a large section of Indian media outlets are now playing anti-Hindu and anti-India card.
In an opinion editorial on January 23, 2023, The Guardian wrote:
The BBC also uncovered memos showing that Modi’s conduct was criticised at the time by western diplomats and the British government, including in a government report which found that the riots had “all the hallmarks of an ethnic cleansing”.
Modi has been haunted for decades by allegations of complicity in the violence that took place during the Gujarat riots, which broke out after 59 Hindu pilgrims died on a train that had been set on fire. The fire was blamed on the state’s Muslim population.
Almost 1,000 Muslims died in violence across the state. Police were accused of standing by and Modi of not doing enough to protect the minority community from the Hindu mobs and even tacitly supporting the Hindu extremists. He has denied accusations he failed to stop the rioting and in 2013 a supreme court panel said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him.
It further said, “The decision to block the documentary comes amid an increasingly challenging environment for media and freedom of the press under the Modi government, with critical journalists and media subjected to state and judicial harassment. Last year, India slipped eight places in the press freedom index to 150 out of 180 counties, its worst position on record.
Also read The BBC: Way past its sell by date
“The ban on the BBC documentary was met with outrage by opposition politicians, who accused the Modi government of censorship. Mahua Moitra, an MP for opposition party Trinamool Congress, tweeted a link to a clip, writing: “Shame that the emperor and courtiers of the world’s largest democracy are so insecure. Sorry, haven’t been elected to represent world’s largest democracy to accept censorship.”
“Asaduddin Owaisi, the president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, questioned why a documentary on Modi was blocked while another upcoming film venerating Gandhi’s killer, Nathuram Godse, was being released unchallenged”.
Let me give a bit of information on Mahua Moitra and Asaduddin Owaisi.
Mahua Moitra is an Indian politician and a Member of parliament in the 17th Lok Sabha from Krishnanagar, West Bengal.
On January 10, 2017, Mahua Moitra filed a police complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party MP and Union Minister Babul Supriyo for allegedly “insulting her modesty” during a national television debate. The complaint was later dismissed by the Calcutta High Court. A few days later, Babul Supriyo sent legal notices to Mahua Moitra and TMC MPs Saugata Roy and Tapas Paul for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of being involved in the Rose Valley Ponzi firm scam.
In January 2020, Zee media filed a defamatory lawsuit against Mahua Moitra for making derogatory statements against the channel while addressing reporters. She has been granted bail and put on trial by a Delhi Court.
In December 2020, Moitra called the press as “2 paisa worth” after which the local news media criticized her heavily and decided to boycott her. Her party distanced themselves from her comments.
On July 5, 2022 at the India Today Conclave East, while reacting to a film poster showing goddess Kali smoking a cigarette, Mahua Moitra said, “Kaali to me is a meat-eating, alcohol-accepting goddess. You have the freedom to imagine your goddess. There are some places where whiskey is offered to gods and in some other places it would be blasphemy”. Distancing itself from the controversy, her party All India Trinamool Congress issued a statement — “Her views expressed on Goddess Kali have been made in her personal capacity and are not endorsed by the party in any manner or form”, condemning Moitra’s remarks. Subsequently, police complaints were filed against Moitra by the Bengal BJP in Kolkata and five districts of West Bengal, as well as in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Mahua Moitra has revealed that she had lived in Scandinavia and that her former husband was Danish financier Lars Brorson. She did not disclose another episode of her private life. Mahua Moitra had romantic relations and was dating with a Moroccan Muslim, who was a client in her bank in London. She will never endorse it in public. But of course, from her outrageous statement about Hindu goddess Kaali, it is clearly understood – Mahua Moitra herself in a Hindu-hater, which could be the result of her romantic relations with the Moroccan Muslim and marital relations with a Christian Lars Brorson.
Asaduddin Owaisi has connections with terrorist and radical Islamic jihadist activities in Hyderabad, where most of India’s terrorist incidents are linked to this province.
BJP MLA for the Goshamahal assembly constituency in Hyderabad T. Raja Singh claimed, “If we take Gujarat Haren Pandya case, the accused were from Hyderabad consistency and 12 ISIS [sic] terrorist have also been caught from his (Owaisi’s) constituency”. Singh also accused Owaisi of financially supporting terrorists in the region. In 2016, Owaisi was arrested for sedition after providing legal aid to five members of an Islamic State terrorist cell. The complaint, filed to the Eleventh Metropolitan Magistrate court accused Owaisi of, “directly or indirectly helping the ISIS”.
Owaisi is a strong defender of radical Islam, sharia rule and even Caliphate. He thinks, “One day a hijabi will become the Prime Minister of India”. He also is against Iranian demonstrators who currently are continuing protests against the regime for enforcing hijab.
Asaduddin Owaisi defends Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and considers Israel as an “illegitimate” country, while he considers Jews as “enemies of Allah”.