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India’s latest descent into authoritarianism: US diaspora group on BBC documentary ban

By Our Representative 

A US-based diaspora group, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), has said that the Government of India ban the BBC documentary, “India: The Modi Question,” which "exposed India’s Hindu supremacist prime minister Narendra Modi’s complicity in the mass killing of nearly 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat state in 2002", is the latest turn in India’s descent into authoritarianism during Modi’s nine-year rule.
Claiming that the Modi rule has seen "unprecedented attacks on free speech and press freedom", IAMC, in a statement, said, it has "arrested and jailed journalists on unfounded terror charges", even as raidint news organizations "that are critical of its failures."
Slamming Twitter and YouTube for removing references and links to the documentary under pressure, IAMC executive director Rasheed Ahmed said, “It is appalling that platforms touting their commitment to free speech should cave under pressure from an authoritarian government whose leaders have encouraged and incited mass violence against minorities.” He added, “It is especially shameful considering Twitter’s prior resistance to India’s censorship."
Condemning Twitter for blocking IAMC’s tweet in India that shared the link to the BBC documentary, the statement said, “India: The Modi Question” shares the results of a British government investigation into the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002. The documentary found that Modi, who was then Gujarat’s chief minister, was “directly responsible” for the “climate of impunity” that enabled mass violence.
The documentary, it said, quotes politicians and senior police officers, including Sanjiv Bhatt who is now in prison, as saying that Modi ordered the police to permit violence. Bhatt claimed that at a meeting he attended on the eve of the anti-Muslim violence, Modi ordered the police to stand down and “let Hindus vent their anger” against Muslims.
IAMC further said, BBC documentary includes a video of Babu Bajrangi, a leader of the Hindu extremist Bajrang Dal, in which he clearly says that “It was [Modi’s] hand all the way… If he’d told the police to do differently,” the police could have stopped the violence as “they had full control.”
It added, "Bajrangi was later convicted for orchestrating the killing of 97 Muslim men, women and children. In this video shot secretly, Bajrangi, who has been out on bail for nearly four years despite his conviction for mass murder, also claimed that Modi changed the judges presiding over his case three times to ensure his release."



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