Hindus in Britain protest against Anti Modi stand of BBC

published on May 27, 2014


Mr Tony Hall
Director General and Editor in Chief

Dear Lord Tony Hall,

We write in response to the BBC 2 Newsnight programme broadcast on 16 May 2014 featuring coverage of the election victory by Narendra Modi, who is now the Prime Minister of India. You will have received a letter of complaint, copy attached herewith, sent by Priti Patel, Conservative MP (Witham). We agree with that letter and endorse the sentiments expressed about the bias in the programme. The programme was clearly skewed to adopt a critical position against Modi and made allegations against him which are either unsubstantiated or are against the grain of the evidence.

The programme’s featuring of Anish Kapoor  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGf1z0UlSG0&feature=youtu.be) who we understand is a strong supporter of India’s Congress party and Britain’s Labour party as an authoritative commentator on Indian affairs requires serious investigation. It does not behove the BBC to enable such a diatribe of anti-Modi and India hating rhetoric to be broadcast in this manner. India has carried out world’s largest democratic elections and the BBC’s choice of participants in the programme clearly reveals to us the hateful attitude of the BBC towards Modi, India, its people and culture. If this were not so it would not have arranged the programme in the particular manner that it did and would have treated India, its recent elections, and their outcome with a modicum of seriousness. After all India is already, and is likely to increase in its role as, a major trading partner for the UK and the EU as a whole.

It will play a major role in world affairs in the years to come. The broadcast is completely silent on these issues of major global importance.

In addition to the points raised in Ms Priti Patel’s letter, we would like you to note the following. The role of William Dalrymple in the programme in particular is both questionable and reprehensible. As a British historian, as well as a prominent broadcaster and critic, his implied comments that Modi still has a case to answer for the events of 2002 is not acceptable or reasonable. Dalrymple alleges this despite knowing, or as a close observer of India he is someone who should know, that several legal investigations have cleared Modi.

 Modi has in fact been cleared by a judicial bench which it has been said was hardly sympathetic to him.

We know a lot more about the facts of 2002 today. For instance, Dalrymple seems to ignore the fact that in the aftermath of the events of 2002, Modi had asked for help from the Indian states neighbouring Gujarat and those states responded late and did nothing to help restore the law and order situation. It is well known that the ‘secular’ Indian intellectuals and the paid media in India have tended to parrot out the kind of diatribes that the BBC also supports when it comes to coverage of India. Dalrymple here is perhaps no exception since he too adopts a line which completely ignores the factual background of the subject he refers to. Dalrymple also makes sure that he brings in the point that Modi has not apologised. For what exactly should he apologise?

Dalrymple’s stance is in stark contrast to the position of Barry Gardiner MP who, in defending in the Indian media his decision to invite Modi to Britain in August 2013, cited the fact that Modi has never found to be liable for any wrong doing for the events of 2002 despite the several investigations against him.

Unless one is also alleging that the senior Indian judiciary is incompetent then the BBC should drop this line of portraying Modi as a ‘controversial’ figure and if it is very concerned about the events in 2002, it broadcast the full facts about the matter rather than allow such a propagandistic coverage of Modi and of India more generally.

In this context Swapan Dasgupta commendably tried to respond in an appropriate way keeping his cool although the way the programme was set up should have infuriated him. It is no defence that the BBC invited Mr Dasgupta to comment on the elections given the manner in which the programme was set up. When trying to clarify that Modi’s interview remarks, about puppies allegedly being compared to riot victims, has been taken out of context and that was admitted by the Reuter’s interviewer he was shouted down by the host and by Darlymple.

This either indicates the incompetence of the editor and host, or it was the BBC’s attempt to calculatedly ensure that the programme portray a negative image of Modi against the facts.

There a number of other issues with this broadcast and for the sake of clarity and accuracy, we would appreciate a full transcript of this coverage so that we can study it in detail and follow up with further questions and issues.

We hope that the BBC which is already perceived as India-Phobic (Hindu phobic) is prepared to improve its coverage of India since it cannot continue to act as if Indians and British Indians in particular are morons and will not question what they see and hear on BBC’s flagship programmes like Newsnight.

Yours sincerely,

Mukesh Naker

Communications Officer for British Hindu voice

Links to Check out
1. William Dalrymple in search of the real Narendra Modi – Newsnight

2. BBC Hosts Anti Modi artist Anish Kapoor

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