BBC India’s office is reeling after being raided by Indian tax authorities after the country banned a controversial documentary.
The documentary was accused of being critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in deadly riots over 20 years ago.
BBC News reported that the raid shut down the offices banning people from entering or leaving. The Indian government blocked the documentary by using what it said were “emergency powers” adding that both Twitter and YouTube complied with the order.
Critics of the ban say it is an assault on press freedom while Modi’s supporters defended him.
A BBC spokesperson told CNN that the organisation was “fully cooperating” with authorities.
“We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible.”
According to CNN, the two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question” criticised the then-chief minister of the western state of Gujarat back in 2002 when riots broke out between the state’s majority Hindus and minority Muslims. The UK broadcast the documentary in January 2023.
The documentary describes the riots in Gujarat as killing more than 1,000 people who were mostly Muslims.
It went on to say that at least 220 more people went missing. Almost 1,000 women were widowed, while more than 600 children were orphaned, according to government figures.
Modi and his ruling party of Bharatiya Janata rose to power in 2014, when Hindu nationalism was on the rise in the country with a population of 1.3 billion.
During that time, it was estimated that 80% of citizens subscribed to Hinduism.
The documentary said that Jack Straw, who was the British foreign secretary during the riots, claimed that Modi “played a proactive part in pulling back the police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists.”
Modi has since denied such accusations, while India’s Supreme Court in 2012 concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that he was to blame.
The banned documentary hasn’t stopped people from trying to watch it. Last month, some Delhi university students attempted to watch the film but were detained by police.
Critics of their detainment say that their freedoms were being throttled under Modi’s government.
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