The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that BBC’s two-part series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled: ‘India: The Modi Question’ lacks objectivity and is a display of its bias and continuing colonial mindset.
“Do note that this has not been screened in India…We think that this is a propaganda piece, designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity, and continuing colonial mindset are blatantly visible,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said addressing the weekly press conference in New Delhi today.
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“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. Frankly, we don’t wish to dignify such efforts,” he added.
The BBC website describes ‘India: The Modi Question’ as: “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 MEA Spokesperson also referred to remarks by former UK Secretary Jack Straw in the two-part documentary series. “He seems to be referring to some internal UK report. How do I have access to that? It’s a 20-year-old report. Why would we jump on it now? Just because Jack says it, how do they lend it that much legitimacy?”
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“I heard words like ‘inquiry’ and ‘investigations’. There is a reason why we use the term ‘colonial mindset’. We don’t use words loosely. What inquiry? They were diplomats there… Investigation… Are they ruling the country?” Bagchi added.
Meanwhile, the issue also reverberated in the UK Parliament, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak distancing himself from the controversy, saying he “does not agree with the characterisation” of PM Modi. Sunak said this in reference to a question by Pakistan-origin MP Imran Hussain in Parliament.
“The UK government’s position on this has been clear and long-standing and hasn’t changed. Of course, we do not tolerate persecution where it appears anywhere but I am not sure I agree at all with the characterisation that the gentleman (Hussain) has put forward,” Sunak said on Thursday.
BBC came in for condemnation from House of Lords Member Lord Rami Ranger over its “biased” reportage. “BBC, you have caused a great deal of hurt to over a billion Indians; It insults a democratically elected PM, Indian Police and the Indian judiciary. We condemn the riots and loss of life and also condemn your biased reporting,” he said on Twitter. Referring to the documentary as “ill-thought-out”, Rami said it was an “insult to the largest democracy of the world”. According to some media reports, the two-part documentary series was pulled down by YouTube on Wednesday.