More than 300 distinguished Indians, including retired judges, bureaucrats, and military veterans, signed a statement criticising the British national broadcaster for its "unrelenting hostility" toward India and its leader in response to the BBC's documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of the UK ran a two-part series criticising PM Modi's term in office as Gujarat's Chief Minister during the Gujarat riots of 2002. Following backlash, some platforms pulled the documentary.
Eminent Indians signed the letter criticising the BBC series, which they claim is "based on deluded and obviously slanted reporting" and presumes to call into question the entire foundation of India's existence as an independent, democratic country, which has existed for 75 years.
Prejudice of BBC towards India resurfaced: Letter
"Yet again, the staple, dyed-in-the-wool negativity and unrelenting prejudice of the BBC toward India has resurfaced as a documentary, 'India: The Modi Question'. This production, the BBC claims, has been rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards, and examines the tensions between India's Hindu majority and Muslim minority and explores the politics of India's PM Narendra Modi in relation to those tensions" and a series of controversial policies" implemented by him," the letter read.
The eminent Indians claimed that this film is "a visibly motivated charge sheet against our leader, a fellow Indian and a patriot," and they added that they cannot allow anyone to run rampant with their premeditated bias.
"Regardless of whom you, as an individual Indian, might have voted for, the Prime Minister of India is the Prime Minister of your country, our country. We cannot allow just about anyone to run amok with their deliberate bias, their vacuous reasoning hiding behind phrases like 'it was widely reported' or that 'there were pretty credible reports," they said.
Documentary reeks of motivated distortion
Eminent Indians pointed out that the glaring factual errors apart, the documentary reeks of motivated distortion that is as mind-numbingly unsubstantiated as it is nefarious.
"This is demonstrated most vividly by its completely sidelining the core fact: that the apex judicial institution of India, the Supreme Court of India, has unambiguously ruled out any role of Shri. Modi in the Gujarat violence of 2002, while firmly rejecting allegations of complicity and inaction by the then Gujarat State government headed by Chief Minister Modi," the letter read.
Questioning a key source of the BBC documentary, the signatories said, "there is nothing in the so-called British Foreign Office document - said to be based on a report from their High Commission in New Delhi, which was, in turn, said to be based on a report by their diplomat who visited Gujarat in 2002 that had not been earlier alleged by any number of media reports and commentaries in India in the years following 2002, apart from the allegations made by Sreekumar, Bhatt and Pandya." "All these allegations have been painstakingly dissected and dismissed by the Supreme Court of India. So now this resurrected accusation - contradicting the Supreme Court verdict - has to be believed only because a British media outlet has made it?" the eminent Indian asked.
Prominent names among signatories
The signatories of the letter slamming the BBC have some prominent names like former Chief Justice of Rajasthan HC Anil Deo Singh, former Home Secretary LS Goyal, former RAW chief Sanjeev Tripathi, former NIA chief Yogesh Chander Modi etc.
(With inputs from ANI)
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