BBC documentary on Narendra Modi was ‘politics by other means’, says S Jaishankar
The external affairs minister questioned why a similar documentary was not made about the 1984 anti-Sikh violence.
The BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “politics by other means,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday, according to ANI.
The first part of the documentary, released on January 17, had alleged that Modi – then the chief minister of Gujarat – prevented the police from acting to prevent the violence. On January 21, Centre invoked emergency powers under the Information Technology Rules to direct social media platforms to take down the links sharing snippets from the documentary.
At the time, the external affairs ministry claimed that the documentary was a propaganda piece designed to push a discredited narrative.
Jaishankar on Tuesday questioned why a similar documentary was not made about the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. “I mean, come on, you think the timing is accidental?” he asked. “Let me tell you one thing. I don’t know if election season has started in India and Delhi or not but for sure it has started in London and New York.”
The minister claimed that the documentary was an instance of politics “by people who do not have the courage to come into the political field.”
He added: “They want to have that teflon cover saying that I am an NGO, media organisation etc.”
Less than a month after the BBC released the documentary in the United Kingdom, the Income Tax department in India carried out surveys on the Mumbai and Delhi offices of the British broadcaster.
Several global media rights advocates and India’s opposition leaders have condemned the searches, saying the timing of the action just weeks after the documentary aired “smacked of intimidation”. On February 16, the BBC said in a statement that it stands by its colleagues and journalists “who will continue to report without fear or favour”.
However, the government has maintained that there is no connection between the BBC documentary and the Income Tax surveys.
‘Modi sent Army to LAC, not Rahul Gandhi’
Jaishankar on Tuesday also responded to accusations by Opposition parties in connection with Chinese constructions at the Pangong Lake region in Ladakh, and said the area had been under Beijing’s illegal occupation since the 1962 Indo-China war.
“If I would have to sum up this China thing, please do not buy this narrative that somewhere the government is on the defensive...somewhere we are being accommodative,” he told the news agency. “I ask people if we were being accommodative who sent the Indian Army to the LAC [Line of Actual Control]. Rahul Gandhi did not send them. Narendra Modi sent them.”
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.
In May, reports had emerged that China was building a second bridge, parallel to the one built in January around Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh. The bridge could potentially help the People’s Liberation Army to quickly mobilise its troops in the region.