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‘Witch hunt against PM Modi’: Indian diaspora in London protests outside BBC headquarters

First Published: 30th January, 2023 10:20 IST

The protests in London came a week after the Indian government imposed a nationwide ban on the airing of the BBC documentary. “We do not deserve this,” said one of

The protests in London came a week after the Indian government imposed a nationwide ban on the airing of the BBC documentary.

“We do not deserve this,” said one of the protestors in London, staging demonstrations against the controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Indian diaspora in the United Kingdom shared concerns about the BBC’s narrative, which could ‘create a rift between the Indian Hindu and Muslim communities’ based in England.

The protests in London came a week after the Indian government imposed a nationwide ban on the airing of the BBC documentary.

Deeming the BBC’s two-part series as a ‘propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative‘, the Centre blocked the BBC’s documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’ consisted of PM Modi’s (then Gujarat CM) quizzing by a BBC reporter who asked the state leadership about the 2002 Gujarat riots and the alleged ethnic mob violence that ensued.

The violence broke out allegedly after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in Godhra was set ablaze.

The series also alleged PM Modi’s (then Gujarat CM) uncomfortable ties with the Muslim community in India.

Rebutting the BBC’s take on the 2002 Gujarat riots and saying that their narrative was lopsided, Indians in hundreds gathered outside the BBC headquarters to carry out demonstrations on January 29.

“Why is the BBC wanting to create a problem between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the UK?,” said retired Royal Mail worker Vinoo Bhai Sachari, one of the many who came together to protest against the two-part documentary on PM Narendra Modi.

A young girl preferred to keep her face covered; as she said, “The Media, here in the UK, is starting to pursue a narrative which is very dangerous to the UK community…this could endanger the Hindu community. We do not deserve this.”


Another protester, Jay, a young professional born in the UK, referred to the 2002 Godhra riots, saying, “The documentary is completely one-sided. They did not see both sides at all. They did not focus on why the riots started and how a train full of men, women and young children burned. There was no focus on the 300 to 400 Hindus who lost their lives. No mention at all of the 200 police officers who died.”

“The BBC has been doing this for a number of years. We sat quietly. We never said anything, but enough is enough. If this does not stop, we will stop paying our licence fee,” Jay added.

In the UK, any household watching or recording a television programme is required to pay a monthly licence fee. The BBC depends on this fee. Many protestors resonated with what Jay said about denying to pay the licence fee if such a partial portrayal continues.

“We would like the BBC to apologise and be questioned in front of the Parliamentary select committee about the intent of making it at a time when the Indo-UK trade deal is being finalised,” said Arun Thakur, president of the National Council of Hindu Temples.

“It’s a witch hunt against PM Narendra Modi, who was exonerated by the Supreme Court,” said a protester.

Meanwhile, the Indian community staging protests in London also questioned the timing of the documentary. They believed that since India is approaching general elections in 2024, the agenda behind the BBC documentary was to tarnish PM Modi’s image.

“Why now?” many protesters asked.

“The intent and motif of the documentary should be investigated by an independent body,” said the president of Shree Ram Mandir Southall, one of the oldest temples in the UK.

Also Read: ‘Pathaan’ smashing box-office records across North America

Story Credit: India Today



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