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Indian diaspora watch, discuss banned BBC docu-film in Canada on Gauri Lankesh b'day

By Our Representative 

While it remains banned in India, with those showing it being detained in Delhi University, an Indian diaspora group in Canada based in Surrey, British Columbia, organized free screening of the BBC documentary on Gujarat riots, "India: The Modi Question",  which has created sensation in India. The occasion was slain activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh’s birthday, which fell on Sunday, January 29.
It was pointed out at the event that the two episodes of "India: The Modi Question" remain out of bounds in the world’s so-called largest democracy. Not only the right wing Hindu nationalist BJP government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has restricted its screening in India, dozens have been detained for making an attempt to show it in public  in different parts of India.
Surrey-based editor of the weekly "Chardikala" Gurpreet Singh Sahota, told the audience which had gathered for the event, "The documentary takes a critical look at the functioning of Modi under whose rule, attacks on religious minorities, especially Muslims have grown ever since he was elected as the leader of India in 2014."
The Indian establishment got riled up following the relay of the first episode by BBC for exposing Modi’s complicity in the 2002 Muslim massacre in Gujarat, it was pointed out, recalling, Modi had previously served as the Chief Minister of the coastal state where about 1,000 Muslims were murdered after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, leaving 58 passengers dead. Modi had blamed the incident on Muslims and allegedly instigated violence against the minority community.
"While the Indian government declared the documentary as propaganda, its officials tried to muzzle the voices of those who promoted it on social media", Sahota, who was served a notice by Twitter at the behest of the Indian government for a tweet on the documentary, asserted.
While Indian government declared documentary as propaganda, officials tried to muzzle the voice of those who promoted it on social media
One of the aim of the event  for screening was to show solidarity with Sahota and others who are facing intimidation in India.
Gauri Lankesh, who was allegedly murdered by Hindu extremists for opposing the BJP in 2017, is known to have translated a book on Gujarat violence authored by journalist Rana Ayyub in Kannada. An investigative journalist, Rana's book, "Gujarat Files", is based on sting operation of Gujarat officials and politicians she carried out as a "Tehelka" reporter. "Tehelka" refused to publish stories based on the sting.
Punjabi poet Amrit Diwana read a poem dedicated to Lankesh at the beginning of the programme that was started with a moment of silence in memory of the six worshippers who were killed in a hate crime in Quebec on January 29, 2017.
A participating speaker regretted, while the Canadian politicians, particularly of the Indian heritage, are paying tributes to the victims of Quebec violence, they have remained silent to the actions of an "Islamophobic government” in New Delhi.
The screening was followed by speeches and Question and Answer session. Those who spoke on the occasion included anti-racism activist Imtiaz Popat, a Muslim of Gujarati heritage, beside anti-racism educator Annie Ohana, human rights activist Sunil Kumar and a freelance writer Kanwal Gill.



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