The Indian government has blocked videos and tweets containing links to a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 sectarian riots, deeming it “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage.”
Hindu nationalist Modi, premier of Gujarat state at the time, allegedly ordered police to turn a blind eye to the orgy of violence that left at least 1,000 people dead, the majority of whom were minority Muslims, according to a British broadcaster’s program.
A government adviser, Kanchan Gupta, tweeted on Saturday that the Indian government blocked the documentary and its clips from being published on social media using emergency powers under IT regulations.
“Videos sharing hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage disguised as ‘documentary’ on @YouTube and tweets containing links to the BBC documentary have been blocked in accordance with India’s sovereign laws and regulations,” he said.
Twitter was also ordered to block over 50 tweets containing links to YouTube videos.
Gupta stated that both YouTube and Twitter had cooperated with the directives.
On Sunday, neither company was available for comment.
On Sunday, several tweets including portions of the documentary “India: The Modi Question,” which has not shown in the largest democracy in the world, were still available.
The riots in Gujarat in 2002 began when 59 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a train fire. In relation to this incident, 31 Muslims were convicted of criminal conspiracy and murder.
The BBC program quoted a previously classified British foreign ministry memo citing anonymous sources as alleging that Modi met with senior police officers and “ordered them not to intervene” in the subsequent anti-Muslim violence perpetrated by right-wing Hindu groups.
The violence was “politically motivated” and its purpose was “to purge Muslims from Hindu areas,” according to a report from the foreign ministry.
The “organized campaign of violence bears all the markings of ethnic cleansing” and “would not have been conceivable without the climate of impunity fostered by the state government… It found that Narendra Modi is directly responsible.
In response to the violence, Modi, who governed Gujarat from 2001 until his election as prime minister in 2014, was briefly subject to a travel ban by the United States.
A special investigating committee established by the Indian Supreme Court to explore the role of Modi and others in the violence claimed in 2012 it could not find any evidence to punish the then chief minister.
Gupta stated that many ministries had reviewed the video and found that it “cast doubt on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India, sowed discord among diverse Indian communities, and made unsubstantiated allegations.”
“Therefore, it was determined that @BBCWorld’s vile propaganda undermined the sovereignty and integrity of India and had the potential to harm India’s friendly relations with foreign nations as well as public order within the country,” he stated.