India blocks BBC documentary on Prime Minister Modi from airing in India

Natalie Portman
By Natalie Portman 2 Min Read
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MUMBAI (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – India has blocked the airing of a BBC documentary questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying it was also banned from sharing any clips via social media.

The instructions to block the sharing of the clips were issued using emergency powers available to the government under the country’s information technology rules, Kanchan Gupta, a government adviser, said on his Twitter account on Saturday.

While the BBC has not aired the documentary in India, the video has been uploaded to some YouTube channels, Gupta said.

The government has ordered Twitter to block more than 50 tweets linking to the documentary video, and YouTube has been instructed to block any uploads of the video, Gupta said. Both YouTube and Twitter complied with the guidance, she added.

Modi was the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat when it was hit by communal riots that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, according to the government count. The violence erupted after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59 people.

Human rights activists estimate that at least twice that number died during the unrest.

Modi has denied allegations that he failed to stop the uprising. A special investigation team appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate the role of Modi and others in the violence said in a 541-page report in 2012 that it found no evidence to prosecute the then prime minister.

Modi was later named head of his party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which he brought to power in general elections in 2014 and then 2019.

Last week, an Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman called the BBC documentary a “propaganda piece” intended to promote a “discredited narrative”.

(Reporting by Ira Dugal; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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