BBC film on Indian PM Modi’s role in 2002 anti-Muslim riots sparks tension

New Delhi, Jan 25 (EFE).- Student groups Wednesday alleged that several of their leaders were arrested by Indian police as they planned to screen a banned BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots.

Those arrested included at least four student leaders of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university in New Delhi.

The student has organized to screen the documentary “India: The Modi Question,” which has caused a storm in the country and infuriated the government of the Hindu nationalist prime minister.

The documentary has not been aired in India by the BBC.

However, the federal government has banned it and prohibited people from sharing clips on social media, citing emergency powers under its information technology laws.

“Office bearers of the SFI have been detained to stop the screening of ‘India: the Modi question.’ We request student community of the JMI to rise in protest against the repressive measure,” the group said in a message on social media.

A student leader told EFE on condition of anonymity that SFI Secretary for Jamia Millia Islamia Azeez, SFI Vice President for South Delhi Nivedya, and two other university students were among those arrested,

The university administration announced Tuesday that it would not allow the documentary screening on the campus and warned of consequences for those who disobey the order.

Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University also organized a similar screening on Tuesday.

However, the event was thwarted by a power outage and an internet blackout in the area.

An SFI statement on Tuesday alleged that JNU management suspended the power supply and snapped the Internet to prevent students from seeing the investigative film.

“Countrywide censorship of the documentary has been exercised by the centre to protect their demi-god Narendra Modi whose links with the Gujarat riots remain unflinchingly visible in the documentary as well as in the accounts of victims,” the SFI said.

The documentary examines Modi’s role in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state of Gujarat.

Modi was the chief minister of the western state then.

The death of 59 Hindu pilgrims during a fire on a train, blamed on Muslims, unleashed a wave of communal violence in the state.

Hindu fundamentalists attacked Muslims in the clashes that killed nearly 2,000 people, mostly from the Muslim minority.

In particular, the BBC documentary questions the alleged lack of action by Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The government failed to stop the massacres as the police were also accused of playing a passive role during the riots.

Indian authorities say the documentary is a piece of propaganda and blocked it on social media. EFE


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