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A BBC Documentary On Modi Causes Controversy In India

by James William

A BBC documentary on modi has stoked controversy in India, where the Indian government has blocked sharing of clips from it. The two-part documentary explores the relationship between Indian PM Narendra Modi and Muslims, particularly during deadly riots in Gujarat in 2002.

The document revisits allegations that Modi turned a blind eye to rioting that killed 1,000 people, mostly minority Muslims.


A fascinating documentary series examines tensions between India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the country’s Muslim population. The documentary focuses on allegations that Modi’s policies reflect prejudice towards Muslims and questions whether his government is actively trying to suppress religious freedom. While it does not fully answer these questions, the documentary is well-researched and unbiased.

The bbc documentary on modi examines claims that Modi was directly responsible for the 2002 riots in Gujarat, where more than 1,000 people — most of them Muslim — were killed. The documentary claims that Modi manipulated the police force and encouraged Hindu extremists, which led to the violence. It also includes a secret British Foreign Office report, which states that Modi had “direct responsibility” for the violence. The documentary also features an interview with former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who says that the riots had all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.

Modi has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the riots, but the controversy has continued to shadow him as he became the nation’s prime minister and won a second term in office last year. The documentary’s claims have prompted an angry response from the Indian government, which has banned the broadcast of the documentary in India and ordered online portals to take down the video. The government has also used emergency powers to block YouTube uploads and to arrest students who held screenings of the documentary.

While the documentary is not a definitive account of Modi’s role in the riots, it offers compelling evidence that the government may be engaging in discriminatory policies against minorities. The documentary comes at a critical time for India, which is attempting to position itself as a global leader. It is increasingly being courted by western countries for trade deals and close political ties. However, the documentary’s claims about past atrocities and current discrimination could damage those relationships. The BBC has defended the documentary, saying that it is rigorously researched and has included voices from across the spectrum of opinion. The documentary is not available on YouTube in India, but viewers can watch it on telegram and other services using VPNs.


The documentary, which delves into allegations of Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, has caused an uproar in India. The government banned the film and used emergency laws to block online sharing. But the BBC has refused to back down. It says the documentary was “rigorously researched and adhered to the highest editorial standards.”

The two-part film revisits allegations from two decades ago, when violence erupted in the western state of Gujarat between Hindus and Muslims after a train bombing was blamed on the Muslim community. Thousands were killed in the ensuing riots, and many Muslims were targeted by mobs that destroyed their homes. The documentary alleges that Modi failed to intervene effectively to prevent the violence, which was condemned by a Supreme Court-ordered inquiry.

Modi’s government denies the claims in the documentary, and critics say it is trying to silence critics. But it is especially sensitive about criticism from the BBC, which has a long history of reporting on controversial topics in India. The documentary has also raised concerns about the government’s treatment of minorities. It comes as India seeks closer ties with the US and UK, with some fearing that it could use these relationships to cover up past atrocities or discrimination against minority groups.

A number of Indian student groups have attempted to organize screenings of the documentary, but they have faced arrest and violence from rightwing supporters. The documentary has also caused a rift between India and the UK at a diplomatic level.

The BBC is fighting a legal battle in Delhi over the documentary, which was broadcast on its UK channel in January. A group that accuses the BBC of defamation has filed a case against the corporation, claiming that it denigrated Modi by linking him to the 2002 communal violence.

The two-part documentary reveals deep-seated tensions between India’s majority Hindu population and its minority Muslims. It explores accusations that Modi and his governing Bharatiya Janata Party have created a climate of fear and hate for India’s Muslim community, which is the second-largest in the world. But it also shows that the prime minister is a strong leader who has taken steps to tackle rising poverty and promote economic growth in his country.


A BBC documentary that explores the role of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat has enraged India’s government, prompting it to invoke emergency laws to block sharing of the documentary on social media. The two-part series, India: The Modi Question, examines the leader’s track record as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat during a period of violence that left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly Muslims. The government has accused the BBC of bias and a continuing colonial mindset.

The BBC has defended the documentary, saying it was “rigorously researched” and cited evidence including a confidential report by the UK’s foreign secretary at the time, Jack Straw, which found that Modi’s involvement in the riots was “egregious.” The BBC also made sure to interview a wide range of witnesses and experts.

In an attempt to counter the BBC’s reporting, several British lawmakers have signed a petition accusing the BBC of attempting to “denigrate and destabilise” the country by bringing up old allegations against the Modi government. The petition, which has so far garnered more than 50,000 signatures, argues that the documentary is a “blatant example of agenda driven reporting” and a “symbolic expression of institutional bias that now characterises this once globally respected organisation.”

But in India, where Modi is highly popular, the BBC’s story is making waves. Activists have been staging wildcat screenings of the documentary, and even members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have criticized it. Conservative MP Bob Blackman called it a “hatchet job” and Tory peer Rami Ranger accused the BBC of employing Pakistani journalists with “racist views” in the documentary.

The documentary has become a flashpoint for debate about free speech in the country, where censorship is rampant. While the Indian government has banned the show, it has not stopped many citizens from watching it on illegal downloads or at wildcat screenings in their homes. The episode has also renewed calls for India’s media to be given greater freedom to criticize the government. The BBC has reportedly received threats of a boycott, but the corporation is standing its ground.


The two-part BBC documentary series India: The Modi Question has caused a huge controversy in India. The film alleges that the prime minister was involved in the 2002 Gujarat riots when he was the state’s chief minister. The government has dismissed the film as “propaganda” and a reflection of bias and a colonial mindset. It has also invoked emergency government powers to block access to the documentary on social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube. The BBC has defended the documentary, saying it was “rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards.”

The first part of the film opens with ominous music and a dark computer screen with the supposedly big reveal: a declassified British diplomatic cable allegedly blaming Modi for the riots that killed hundreds of Muslims in 2002. The film then goes back to the events of that time, highlighting the role of Modi’s party in organising the pogrom against Muslims. The documentary also interviews the victims and their families. The second part of the film begins with a lynching in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, which is followed by a discussion about how the riots and lynchings are linked to Hindu nationalism.

While the film does make some valid points, it could have been much better. The BBC should have filmed the perpetrators of these crimes and shown them for who they are without trying to give it a “balanced” spin. It would have been more honest, and it would have made a bigger impact.

Despite the outcry, the documentary is getting a lot of attention in the US. Two human rights groups have invited policymakers and journalists to a screening of the documentary in Washington, ahead of Modi’s state visit to the White House.

The international press freedom organisation International Press Institute has voiced its alarm over the Indian authorities’ use of emergency laws to block the documentary. It said that the government’s 2021 IT Rules granted it “expansive and unchecked power to punish or restrict any criticism of its policies.” It has called on the government to reverse its decision.


The BBC documentary on Modi offered a comprehensive exploration of the Indian Prime Minister’s life and political journey. It shed light on his rise to power, controversial policies, and impact on India’s socio-political landscape. Regardless of differing opinions, the documentary served as a thought-provoking piece, sparking debates on Modi’s leadership and legacy.


  1. Was the BBC documentary on Modi unbiased? Answer: The documentary aimed to provide a balanced perspective on Narendra Modi’s life and political career. However, like any portrayal of a polarizing figure, opinions on its neutrality varied. Some viewers praised its objectivity, while others criticized perceived biases. Ultimately, it’s essential to approach such documentaries with a critical mindset and cross-reference information.

Did the documentary cover all aspects of Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister? Answer: The BBC documentary delved into significant aspects of Modi’s tenure, including his early life, rise to power, and policy decisions. While it provided valuable insights, the limited runtime might have restricted a comprehensive examination of every aspect of his leadership. To understand Modi’s entire tenure, additional research from various sources would be beneficial

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