BBC ordered to Delhi High Court over Modi documentary


Kathmandu: The BBC has been ordered to the Delhi High Court over a defamation case about its documentary on Narendra Modi.

The documentary focused on the prime minister’s role in anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister of the state.

The Gujarat-based group that filed the suit, Justice on Trial, told Reuters the documentary had defamed India.

The BBC said it was aware of the proceedings but it was “inappropriate to comment further at this stage”.

Although the documentary, India: The Modi Question, was broadcast on television only in the UK this January, India’s government attempted to block people sharing the programme, calling it “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage” with a “colonial mind-set”.

Weeks after the broadcast, the BBC’s Delhi offices were raided by Indian income tax authorities, and in April an investigation was opened into the broadcaster for alleged violations of foreign exchange rules.

The documentary itself examines Mr Modi’s leadership during the Gujarat riots which began the day after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire, killing dozens. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the subsequent violence.

India’s PM has long rejected accusations against him, and has not apologised for the riots. In 2013, a Supreme Court panel also said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him.

The BBC has previously said the documentary was “rigorously researched” and that “a wide range of voices, witnesses and experts were approached, and we have featured a range of opinions, including responses from people in the BJP”.

News Source: BBC