PM Narendra Modi was chief minister of the western state of Gujarat when it was hit by riots that killed more than 1,000 people – most of them Muslims.
The documentary states that the violence erupted after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire, killing 59 people. This resulted in the displacement of hundreds of Muslims and the destruction of hundreds of mosques.
Accused of failing to prevent the riots, Modi denied the charges and was exonerated in 2012 after an inquiry by India’s top court. Another petition questioning his release was rejected last year.
The BBC report stated, “without the climate of impunity created by the state government, so much damage could not have happened.”
“There was widespread and systematic rape of Muslim women with the intention of purging Muslims from Hindu areas,” the report said, adding that “the systematic campaign of violence has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.”
Rishi Sunak defends Modi
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Modi during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons.
Pakistani-origin Imran Hussain, Member of Parliament for Bradford East, asked the British premier whether he agreed with claims in a BBC documentary that some diplomats in the UK Foreign Office believe Modi was “directly responsible” for the Gujarat carnage. “
Sunak said the UK government’s position “has been clear and long-standing, and has not changed,” adding that the UK does not tolerate harassment wherever it appears.
Sunak said, “I’m not sure I agree at all with the characterization that the honourable has put forward”
BBC documentary “Propaganda”
India’s Ministry of External Affairs dismissed a BBC documentary on PM Narendra Modi that questioned his leadership during the 2002 Gujarat riots as “propaganda.”
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi termed the BBC documentary a “propaganda piece,” saying that “bias,” “lack of objectivity,” and a “persistent colonial mindset” are “clearly visible.”