Guwahati: A BBC documentary, ‘India: The Modi Question,’ aired in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on Tuesday evening has revealed a UK government report suggesting that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “directly responsible” for the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The report, earlier marked as “restricted”, which has never been published or revealed so far, has been shown in detail. It refers to the events as a “systematic campaign of violence” which has “all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.”
The documentary further alleged that “there was a culture of impunity that created the environment for the violence to take place” and “the violence was widely reported to have been organised by an extremist Hindu nationalist group – the VHP.”
The VHP and its allies could not have done so much damage without “the climate of impunity created by the state government.” The BBC Two documentary also featured an interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When asked if there was anything he would have done differently, Modi said, “One area where I could have done things differently is — how to handle media.”
The documentary further mentioned that a former British diplomat, who remains anonymous said, “At least 2000 people were murdered during the violence where the vast majority were Muslims. We described it as a pogrom – a deliberate, and politically driven effort targeted at the Muslim community.”
The report is a result of an inquiry set up by the UK government, which was “alarmed” by the violence that erupted in Gujarat in the months of February and March, in 2002, leaving “over a thousand dead.”
The documentary has not yet been made available for viewing in India.
However, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak distanced himself from the BBC documentary series which was raised by Pakistan-origin MP Imran Hussain in the British Parliament.
Sunak stated that his government’s long-standing position has not changed and that they do not tolerate persecution. He then added that he does not agree with the characterization of the Indian Prime Minister put forward by Hussain.