BBC Documentary screened at Australian Parliament, Amidst PM Modi's Self-Applauding Symphony

BBC Documentary
BBC Documentary

A BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's alleged involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots was screened at the Parliament House in Canberra on the day of his bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart in Sydney.

PM Modi on Wednesday 24th May held a bilateral meeting with his Australian Counterpart in Sydney. A documentary banned by the Indian government was aired in the Australian parliament during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three-day trip Down Under. A group of lawmakers and human rights activists organized the screening.

The Dilemma of Expression

A panel discussion was held after the 40-minute documentary showed, and participants included Dr. Kalpana Wilson of the South Asian Solidarity Group, Australian Greens senator Jordan Steele-John, David Shoebridge, and Aakashi Bhatt, the daughter of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, as reported by various media outlets.

Telling the truth can be illegal in India. The administration in India is depicted in this movie in a very limited way, according to Greens senator David Shoebridge.

"I've talked to so many people in the Indian-Australian diaspora, and many of them say that speaking up is really difficult. They claim they are afraid traveling back will put them and their family in danger. They, therefore, look to the prime minister of Australia and other political figures to handle that work for them,” he said.

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"About 20 years ago, Australia went through a phase in which it blindly embraced China and refused to advocate for human rights. I'd like to think we'd learned our lesson,” he continued.

"What you see is just the tip of the iceberg. Muslims in Gujarat were ruthlessly persecuted for months, according to Aakashi Bhatt.

According to Mohan Dutta of Massey University, "Hindutva poses a threat to our democracies in the region and must be addressed."

Jordan Steele-John expressed concern over the Australian PM's failure to raise the deteriorating human rights situation in India with Modi, saying, "What I've felt in the last couple of days watching the Australian PM's interactions with Prime Minister Modi was a disappointment. Since then, it has hardened into a rage at our prime minister's failure to address the human rights issues that have been brought up to him and the foreign minister in such a direct manner.”

He added in the discussion, “Many people want him and Foreign Minister Wong to talk as critical allies, as the leader of a country that greatly values its relationship with India and is prepared to be critical and speak truthfully about the state of human rights in India. And accept it back in kind.”

“Aakashi mentioned one thing, and it should have been enough to make people question the legitimacy of the legal system: that her family home was demolished. Even then, our PM ought to be suspicious of his answer. How is it possible for our PM to meet with the Indian government without bringing up those issues? That exhibits a severe lack of leadership. Additionally, to invite that criticism to return,” added Shoebridge.

BBC Documentary Screening at Parliament House

The three-day visit by Mr. Modi to Australia for bilateral discussions on trade, business, investment, and migration has now come to an end.

At a 20,000-person gathering in Sydney on Tuesday, Mr. Albanese introduced his Indian counterpart before the two posed for photos in front of the Sydney Opera House, which was lit up in the Indian flag's colors on Wednesday 24th May.

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A documentary that had been outlawed by Mr. Modi's administration was being screened at Parliament House at the same time, attended by about 50 people. The documentary investigated his alleged involvement in the Gujarat riots of 2002, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 individuals, mainly Muslims. The BBC program was prohibited in India due to what they perceived as a lack of objectivity.

India: The Modi Question

According to official statistics, a three-month period of unrest in Gujarat that was precipitated by the fire on a train that killed 59 Hindu pilgrims resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 individuals, the majority of whom were Muslims.

At the time, Mr. Modi served as Gujarat's chief minister. He has consistently refuted allegations that he directed the police not to act. In 2012, a special investigation came to the conclusion that there wasn't enough evidence to convict him.

The claims, however, were resurrected in January after a BBC documentary titled India: The Modi Question discovered a UK government assessment from the period that said Mr. Modi was "directly responsible" for fostering a "climate of impunity" for the rioters.

According to the report, a violent campaign had "all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing," including the routine rape of Muslim women.

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According to the documentary, British authorities had conversations with sources who said Mr. Modi convened a meeting with police personnel and told them not to become involved in the violence. Modi has consistently angrily refuted the accusations.

The program was outlawed using emergency powers by Mr. Modi's administration, which criticized the BBC for its "continuing colonial mindset" and lack of neutrality.

Soon after, tax department officers raided the BBC's offices in New Delhi and Mumbai for what they claimed was an unconnected investigation.

Notice to BBC

In the series of attacks on the global news platform BBC, Delhi High Court on Monday 23rd May had issued notice to the BBC on a plea filed by an NGO seeking damages, claiming that the platform’s documentary of Gujrat riots casts a slur on the reputation of India and makes false and defamatory imputations against PM Narendra Modi and the Indian Judiciary.

Only taking hubris, no real issues addressed

Indian Media, BJP, associated parties, people, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself were busy taking hubris as the event was attended by 20,000 people in Sydney but no relevant and important issues were addressed during the meet.

Modi covered a lot of material, but he omitted to speak of the repression of a free press in India, where 32 journalists and media workers have been assassinated since 2014, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Bhartiya Janata Party government of Modi is also charged with unlawfully discriminating against Muslims and employing oppressive and intimidating tactics against political rivals and civil society organizations.

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