India blocked the broadcast of a BBC documentary that questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his leadership in the 2002 Gujarat riots. It claimed that sharing clips on social media was prohibited.
Kanchan Gupta (an adviser to the government) stated that the instructions to prevent the videos from being shared were issued under emergency powers allowed by the country’s Information Technology Rules.
Gupta stated that the BBC had not broadcast the documentary in India but the video has been uploaded to some YouTube channels.
Twitter has been directed by the government to stop over 50 tweets that link to the documentary. YouTube also has been told to prevent any uploads, Gupta stated. He said that both YouTube and Twitter had followed the instructions.
Modi, the Western State’s Chief Minister was also a Muslim. The violence that erupted in Gujarat was triggered by communal riots. More than 1000 people were killed by the government. After a train transporting Hindu pilgrims was set on fire, violence broke out and killed 59.
According to human rights activists, at least twice as many people died during the rioting.
Modi has denied that he did not stop the rioting. In 2012, a special investigative team was appointed by the Supreme Court in order to examine Modi’s role in the violence. It produced a report of 541 pages and concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the chief minister.
Modi later became the leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. He led it to victory in the general elections in 2014, and again in 2019.
A spokesperson from India’s foreign ministry called the BBC documentary “propaganda” and said it was intended to promote a discredited narrative.