A new documentary by BBC 2 has reignited many uncomfortable truths about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s past and the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom
by Rana Ayyub 19 Janaury 2022
A new documentary on BBC two has yet again brought the focus to Narendra Modi’s past, his role in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, and the state-enabled attack on the 220 million Muslim minorities in India. For many journalists like me who have reported extensively on the 2002 pogrom and the spate of extra-judicial murder of Muslims in the home state of Narendra Modi came as no surprise. I have been undercover for eight months in the state of Gujarat and my investigation sent Mr.Modi’s second in command and his Home Minister, Amit Shah behind bars in 2010.
For me and many other observers of Mr.Modi’s politics, none of this was a revelation. What it does indeed is remind India and the world about the injustice of 2002 and the Modi years, a story that needs to be re-told in the age of amnesia. It needs to be re-told at a time when the mainstream media will have you believe that the 2002 pogrom was a foreign conspiracy to defame Modi. It needs to be re-told at a time when Bilkis Bano, the face of the 2002 pogrom finds the killers of her child, the men who gang-raped her released on the 75th year of Indian independence. The Gujarat horror needs to be revisited because the exercise of humiliation and silencing Muslims in Gujarat is now being practiced on a national level with Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India. The Gujarat story needs to be shared because the Supreme Court in an open court once called the Modi government ‘Modern Day Neroes’ who looked the other way as innocent women and children where being killed.
For me personally, the only revelational and most important part of the documentary is the damaging interview with former UK foreign secretary, Jack Straw who has given access to the internal report made by his officials in India in 2002. The report accuses Modi of looking the other way through the communal carnage, it speaks about the inflammatory speeches made by VHP leaders that triggered the carnage of Muslims, it speaks about Narendra Modi’s inaction against the Hindu nationalist rioters. It will be interesting to see if and how the foreign office in India reacts to the damaging claims. Will it lead to debates on prime time in India ? Will the Indian opposition that has often shied away from speaking on ‘Muslim issues’ to counter the Modi brand of politics speak up ?
Till we get the answers, here is the link to the first part of the documentary before it gets removed, banned from the internet
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