On Tuesday, Amnesty India announced that it was being forced to stop its work in India. According to the post shared by the organisation, "complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the Government of India" had led to this situation. Amnesty said that it was halting all its ongoing campaigns and research work as well as letting go of staff in the country.
Against this backdrop, many have expressed their elation and happiness, even as others rued the lamented the "throttling all human rights work in India". Amid the chatter on Twitter, lawyer and Congress leader turned critic, Shehzad Poonawalla took to Twitter sharing screenshots that purportedly showed him turning down an interview opportunity with BBC World News.
Shehzad whose Twitter bio calls him an analyst on Zee New, Times Now and ABP is a frequent face on TV discussions said that he would think about it "once BBC stops its anti-India propaganda".
The BBC had sought to conduct a Skype interview with him about "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and allegations on his government that it is trying to stifle dissent and endanger democracy".
Shehzad however was quick to shut down the offer, stating that he felt that the BBC's reportage was biased. "I feel that BBC & its coverage has been extremely biased, fake, disappointing & anti India's interests in recent past on many cases eg J&K , Article 370. The attempt seems to have been to side with anti India forces. As soon as BBC corrects this I will be available for a comment to them or else I do not want to legitimise this rubbish that hurts my nation's interest & blows trumpet of Pakistani narrative (sic)," he responded.
While many have lauded him for his stance, the Twitter post also drew an irked response from BBC South Asia Bureau Chief, Nicola Careem who tweeted that this was the "tropical response impartial media will get when asking for comment or opinion from the right/far right in India".
Shehzad was quick to reply, clarifying that he did not care for "certificates" from those whose reportage was biased. He also linked the organisation to Pakistan and dubbed the it the "Boring Broadcast Company".