BBC Documentary On Narendra Modi Blockaded In India

by James William
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India’s government has threatened to disrupt UK-India ties over a BBC documentary that revisited allegations of Modi’s role in deadly sectarian riots in 2002. It has also imposed emergency powers to block clips online and has harassed students who held screenings.

But despite these attempts to silence the film, it has gained a following online. Read on to find out more.

About The Documentary

The government of India has slammed a bbc documentary on modi on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling it propaganda and accusing the corporation of pursuing an anti-India agenda. But the BBC stands by its report, which it says was “rigorously researched according to highest editorial standards.”

The first episode of the two-part documentary, called “India: The Modi Question,” aired on Jan. 17 on BBC Two. It did not air in India, though Indians were able to view it using digital tricks such as VPNs. The BBC offered the Indian government a right of reply but it declined to respond, the corporation said.

In recent years, India’s Muslim minority has been the target of violence by Hindu nationalists emboldened by Modi’s government. The two-part series examines allegations that the prime minister’s policies have contributed to the attacks on Muslims. It also looks at Modi’s role as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat during communal riots in 2002, when violence broke out after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59 people. The riots were blamed on Modi, but the Supreme Court found no evidence that he knew about or encouraged the violence.

India’s government has been critical of the BBC documentary and has asked Twitter and YouTube to block the video, which they did. An Indian lawmaker has accused the government of censorship and said it was trying to stop free speech.

The BBC documentary, which has been viewed by millions on social media, was critical of Modi’s response to the riots and highlighted how police and security forces failed to protect Muslims in the aftermath. The BBC cited the testimony of several witnesses and experts, including a former British diplomat who visited Gujarat in 2002. The documentary also aired an interview with the British foreign secretary at the time, Jack Straw.

But many Indians have criticised the documentary for focusing on Modi, rather than looking at how the police and security forces failed to protect Muslims. It has sparked controversy in the country, with many BJP leaders accusing the BBC of having an anti-Modi agenda by revisiting allegations that were already investigated and dismissed by the courts.

Part One

In India, the documentary has been met with fierce criticism from politicians and rightwing social media users. The film traces the path of Modi’s rise to power and highlights some of the controversies that have dogged him throughout his career, particularly the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The film claims that when Modi was chief minister of the state, he encouraged Hindu mobs to attack Muslims and told police officers to stand aside as violence broke out. It also alleges that he knew of the planned attacks ahead of time. Modi denied any involvement in the riots and was cleared of complicity in a Supreme Court inquiry, but the allegations have dogged him since then. The BBC has stood by the documentary, calling it “rigorously researched according to highest editorial standards”.

During his campaign for PM, Modi has been accused of promoting a divisive narrative in India and has made several comments that have sparked outrage. He has defended himself by saying that the BBC’s coverage was biased and that he has done a lot to bring about unity in the country. The government has banned the documentary from being watched on YouTube and has blocked sharing of clips from it on social media sites. Despite the ban, many people have found ways to watch the documentary. Some have used VPNs to get around the block. Others have set up groups on Telegram where they can share links to the documentary.

Some of the key points that the documentary makes include the fact that the UK imposed a diplomatic boycott and travel ban on Modi in the wake of the riots, which were later lifted after he was given a clean chit by the Supreme Court. It also states that two senior police officers, R. B. Sreekumar and Sanjeev Bhatt, claimed to have received instructions from the state government to stifle the protests. The documentary also points out that both men were charged with fabricating evidence last year and that Bhatt is currently serving a jail term for another matter.

The film has sparked outrage in India, with the government calling it a propaganda piece based on discredited evidence. It has prompted the BBC to face accusations of bias and censorship. Several Indians have even been arrested for setting up screenings of the documentary.

Part Two

The second part of the documentary is out and is focusing on the period since Modi’s re-election. It explores a series of controversial policies including the removal of Kashmir’s special status guaranteed under Article 370, and a citizenship law that many say discriminates against Muslims. It also looks at the growing issue of lynchings of Muslims, and how the government has responded to it.

The first episode of the documentary focused on the Gujarat riots in 2002, where more than 1,000 people were killed. It alleged that Modi encouraged Hindu mobs to attack Muslim homes and directed police officers to stand aside. The film cited a report by the British Foreign Office that held him “directly responsible for the climate of impunity” that allowed the violence to occur. The Indian government condemned the BBC’s film, describing it as a propaganda piece that lacked objectivity and reflected a colonial mindset. It even invoked emergency powers to block video recordings online and arrest students who were holding screenings of it.

Following the release of the first episode, the government blocked several YouTube videos and Twitter links that were sharing the documentary. This was criticised by opposition parties, civil society organisations, and media groups as an attempt to censor the documentary. Opposition MPs from the Congress and TMC, including Derek O’Brien, shared a list of Twitter links that had been blocked on government orders.

The second part of the documentary will air on Tuesday, and will focus on the period since Modi’s Re-election. It will explore a series of controversial policies, including the removal of Kashmir’s special status granted under Article 370 and a citizenship law that many say discriminates on behalf of Muslims. It will also look at the increasing issue of lynchings of Muslims, which has been linked to the rise in Hindu nationalism. The documentary will also examine attempts to deal with illegal immigration, and a story of a rickshawpuller, Noor Hussain, who spent 18 months in jail with his family after being accused of being a Bangladeshi national. It will also look at the treatment of students at Jamia Millia Islamia university, where a female student was detained for 74 days in Tihar Jail while pregnant.


The Indian government has blocked and forced social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter to take down clips from a BBC documentary that examines Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in anti-Muslim riots that killed more than 1,000 people while he was the chief minister of Gujarat state in 2002. The two-part series, called India: The Modi Question, has not been aired in India and is not available for streaming in the country. But the documentary has become a lightning rod for debate, with some people in the country using virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent the blocks and watch the documentary.

The two-part film is based on leaked diplomatic cables, interviews with witnesses and survivors of the violence and other sources. It claims that Modi’s leadership led to a “climate of impunity” that allowed the killings. The documentary also alleges that the prime minister did nothing to stop the attacks and slams him for his complicity in a “horrific slaughter of the minority.”

It is worth noting that Modi has steadfastly denied any involvement in the 2002 riots. He was even cleared of any wrongdoing by a special investigation team that was overseen by the Supreme Court. However, he has vowed to fight any allegations that he was directly responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 Hindus and Muslims.

Despite the fact that the BBC’s documentary has not been screened in India, the government has slammed it for its bias and lack of objectivity. The ministry has also said that it shows a colonial mindset. It is important to note that this is the same government that has shut down local journalism and stifled any attempts at scrutiny of the riots.

The censor board’s decision to ban the film was met with international outrage and protests from dozens of countries and organizations, including the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The decision was reportedly made over concerns that it would spark communal violence and radicalism. The film was eventually cleared by the censor board in October, and it went on to win many awards at international festivals.


In conclusion, the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi presented a comprehensive portrayal of the Indian Prime Minister, highlighting various aspects of his life, political career, and policies. The documentary delved into his rise from humble beginnings to becoming one of India’s most prominent leaders and explored the significant impact he has had on the country’s political landscape. Through extensive interviews, archival footage, and expert analysis, the film provided valuable insights into Modi’s leadership style, ideology, and the challenges he faced during his tenure. However, it is essential to approach such documentaries with a critical mind, recognizing that any portrayal of a political figure can be subject to bias and different perspectives.


  1. Did the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi present a balanced view of his leadership? The BBC documentary attempted to present a balanced view of Narendra Modi’s leadership by including various perspectives and opinions from experts, critics, and supporters. It covered both his achievements and controversies, offering viewers a comprehensive understanding of his tenure as Prime Minister. However, it’s crucial to remember that documentaries can sometimes have inherent biases, so it’s always beneficial to cross-reference information with other credible sources.
  2. How did the documentary address the criticism surrounding Narendra Modi’s policies and actions? The documentary addressed the criticism surrounding Narendra Modi’s policies and actions by featuring interviews with critics and opponents who raised concerns about issues like religious tensions, economic reforms, and freedom of speech in India. It also explored events such as the Gujarat riots and their implications on Modi’s image. By including these perspectives, the documentary aimed to provide a more nuanced view of the Prime Minister’s tenure and the complexities of his leadership.

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