On Thursday, a BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi that questioned his leadership during the riots in Gujarat in 2002 was called “propaganda” by India’s foreign ministry.
When riots broke out in the western state of Gujarat, killing more than 1,000 people, the majority of whom were Muslims, Modi was serving as the state’s chief minister. After a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire and killed 59, the violence broke out.
Modi denied the allegations and was exonerated in 2012 following an inquiry by India’s highest court. He had been accused of failing to put an end to the riots. Last year, a second petition challenging his exoneration was rejected.
Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, said that the BBC documentary has a “bias,” a “lack of objectivity,” and a “continuing colonial mindset.” She called it a “propaganda piece” meant to push a “discredited narrative.”
He stated at a news conference, “It makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it, and we do not wish to dignify such efforts.”
When contacted for comment, the BBC stated that the documentary was “rigorously researched” and included responses from members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A BBC spokesperson stated, “We offered the Indian government a right to reply to the matters raised in the series. It declined to respond.”