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BBC documentary on PM Modi: Former diplomat finds intent ‘incendiary’; Vivek Agnihotri says…

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri on Friday said the UK has always believed in the ideology of dividing people after a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi was termed a ‘propaganda piece’ by the ministry of external affairs. The two-part BBC documentary India: The Modi question is at the centre of a controversy after the external affairs ministry questioned the motive and the colonial mindset behind it.

The first part of the series was aired on Tuesday, not in India. The second part is to be broadcast on January 24.

Amid wide condemnation of the content of the documentary, advocate Vineet Jindal filed a complaint against BBC for the “attack on the integrity of the country and the PM”.

‘British must not be trusted’: Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal

Former diplomat Kanwal Sibal who was the foreign secretary in 2002 said the intent of the BBC documentary quoting former British foreign secretary Jack Straw is incendiary, “open old wounds to keep kindling communal tensions in India, buttress current narrative on persecution of Muslims and tarnish Modi. Confirms British must not be trusted,” the former diplomat wrote.

As the documentary is apparently based on a ‘secret investigation’ conducted by the then UK government, Kanwal Sibal said he was made aware of the UK mischief and he had issued a warning to the missions in Delhi to not interfere in the internal affairs.

“What secrets UK govt accessed hidden from people on ground, opposition,civil society, journalists etc? How can foreign govt conduct secret enquiry in another country? Did they send people undercover? How such an on the spot enquiry took place without GOI knowing? Absurd,” the former diplomat wrote amid the row.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reacted to the documentary and said he did not agree with the characterisation of PM Modi in the film after a Pakistani-origin Labour Party MP raised a question. “The UK government’s position on that is clear and long-standing, and it has not changed,” Sunak responded.

“Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterisation that the hon. gentleman has put forward,” the British prime minister said.

Terming UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s reaction over it as ‘weak’, Kanwal Sibal said Sunak did not entirely disown the report and termed it as mere mischaracterisation. “Should have used occasion to indirectly undo damage by positive references to growing India-UK ties,” he tweeted.

BBC on Friday issued a statement saying that the documentary was rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards.

(With agency inputs)


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