‘Propaganda piece, reveals colonial mindset’: India slams BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots

India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday (January 19) slammed the BBC documentary  aimed at discrediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and termed it a “propaganda piece” and completely biased that still reveals a colonial mindset. The documentary, which is said to be based on some internal UK report, led to outrage on social media and was removed from some platforms. 

The United Kingdom’s National broadcaster BBC released a two-part documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots that had taken place when PM Modi was the chief minister of the Western state of the nation. 

Addressing a weekly briefing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said, “We think it is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity and continuing colonial mindset are blatantly visible.” 

“This documentary is a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again,” Bagchi said. He added that it “makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and agenda behind it”. 

The controversial documentary even reached the British Parliament when Pakistan-origin MP Imran Hussain mentioned it in a question to which British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded, stating that he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation”. 

“The UK government’s position on this has been clear and long-standing and hasn’t changed, of course, we don’t tolerate persecution where it appears anywhere but I am not sure I agree at all with the characterisation that the honourable gentleman has put forward,” Sunak said. 

WATCH | India: News flagged as fake by the government to be banned on social media 

Media reports have mentioned that the documentary included remarks by former UK Secretary Jack Straw, who apparently said that they initiated an inquiry and sent a team to Gujarat to find out what had happened during the riots. As quoted by media outlets, Straw said that “they produced a very thorough report”. 

Responding to Straw’s claims, Bagchi said that “he (Jack Straw) seems to be referring to some internal UK report. How do I have access to that? It’s a 20-year-old report.” 

Bagchi also added that what’s the need to jump on it now and why should India give importance to it just because the UK says it? 

“I heard words like inquiry and investigations. There is a reason why we use the colonial mindset. We don’t use words loosely. What inquiry they were diplomats there…investigation, are they ruling the country,” Bagchi asked. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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