This could refresh relations between London and New Delhi. The Indian government announced on Saturday January 21 that it had blocked videos and tweets sharing a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in community riots, calling him a “propaganda”.
The documentary titled India: The Modi Question (“India: The Modi Question”) says Prime Minister, then head of state of Gujarat, ordered police to turn a blind eye to serious violence that killed at least 1,000 people in 2002 , mostly among the Muslim minority. The program was not broadcast in India, the world’s most populous democracy.
Twitter was also ordered to block more than 50 posts with links to videos of the documentary hosted on YouTube. The two companies, which did not comment on Sunday, complied with the instructions, said government adviser Kanchan Gupta. Some tweets, however, still showed excerpts on Sunday.
According to Mr. Gupta, according to whom this program could affect the “friendly relations” of India with overseas, several ministers reviewed the documentary and said it called into question the credibility of India’s Supreme Court, which cleared Mr Modi in 2012.
The 2002 riots started in Gujarat after 59 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a fire on board a train. Subsequently, 31 Muslims were convicted of criminal association and murder. The BBC documentary includes a declassified report from the British Foreign Office, which cites anonymous sources according to which Narendra Modi met with police officers for their “order not to intervene” during the anti-Muslim violence that followed the death of the pilgrims.
These acts of violence committed by far-right Hindu groups were “politically motivated” with the objective of “purge Muslims from Hindu areas”, adds the report of the ministry. That “systematic campaign of violence has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing” and was impossible “without the climate of impunity created by the state government (…). Narendra Modi is directly responsible”, concludes the report. Mr. Modi, who led the state of Gujarat from 2001 to his election as prime minister in 2014, had been banned from the United States for nearly ten years because of the violence.