Indian student groups screen Modi 'massacre documentary' despite government ban

Indian student groups screen Modi 'massacre documentary' despite government ban
Students in India have ignored a ban on a controversial documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, screening the film on university campuses.
2 min read
23 January, 2023
Modi has been a hugely divisive figure in Indian politics [Getty]

Indian students have defied a government ban on a controversial documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with screenings at several universities in the country over the weekend.

The BBC documentary 'India: The Modi Question' alleges that the prime minister told police to turn a blind eye to Hindu mob massacres of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 when Modi was then premier of the state.

The Hindu nationalist government employed emergency laws on Saturday to block access to clips of the film, which it slammed as "hostile propaganda" and "anti-India garbage".

Students at the University of Hyderabad ignored attempts to suppress the 'India: The Modi Question' with a screening of the film on the campus, leading to anger from Hindu student groups.

A youth movement in the southern state of Kerala also showed the film.

The government's measures have been slammed as censorship by many in India, saying it threatens the nation's democracy with even clips on social media blocked after the Modi government used emergency powers.

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Twitter and YouTube have reportedly complied with New Delhi's request to block 50 tweets giving links to YouTube videos of the documentary.

'India: The Modi Question' details previously classified UK foreign office reports about Modi's alleged role in the sectarian Gujarat riots, which led to the deaths of hundreds, or possibly thousands of Muslim and Hindu Indians.

Unnamed sources claimed that Modi met senior police officers in Gujarat and "ordered them not to intervene" amid a wave of violence against Muslims by right-wing Hindus.

The report said the violence was "politically motivated" with the aim of purging "Muslims from Hindu areas".

Modi's role as head of the state when the riots erupted has continued to plague him, despite successful attempts to build economic and military ties with Muslim-majority Gulf states.

The second instalment of 'India: The Modi Question' will be aired by the BBC on 24 January, days after the explosive first part was filmed.