India uses emergency powers to ban BBC documentary

The Hindu nationalist administration is said to be outraged by the documentary that criticises PM Modi's involvement in the horrific riots in Gujarat in 2002.

India claims to have used emergency powers to prevent the online distribution of a BBC documentary about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India: The Modi Question, a two-part show, poses questions about the  leadership of Mr. Modi during the riots in Gujarat in 2002.

Although the first programme did not air in India on Tuesday, Kanchan Gupta, a government adviser, claims that content was leaked online.

According to him, the content was blocked under the IT Rules, 2021’s emergency powers. He tweeted, “Twitter and @YouTube have both complied with the directions.”

The two-part documentary’s first instalment, which aired on January 17, followed Modi’s early career as a politician and his advancement within the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

When sectarian riots in Gujarat, a state in western India, left more than 1,000 people dead, the most of them Muslims, Modi served as the state’s chief minister.

After a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire and killed 59 people, violence broke out.

In the documentary, a British government assessment on the fatal religious riots of 2002 was made public for the first time. 

The documentary demonstrated how the UK assessment stated that the incidents had “all the signs of an ethnic cleansing.”

Mr. Modi refuted claims that he did not put an end to the unrest.

In a 541-page report published in 2012, a special investigative team that the Supreme Court had formed to look into Mr. Modi’s and others’ involvement in the violence concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the then-chief minister.

Later, he was named the leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party he helped bring to power.

Modi has refused to apologise and has defended how he handled the biggest act of religious violence to occur in India since independence.

He said in the documentary that the police under his command did “excellent work” in 2002 to keep the violence under control.

Muslims make up 15% of India’s 1.4 billion people, and violence against them has grown since Modi took office as prime minister in 2014.

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