Several Indian diaspora organisations united in coordinated demonstrations at BBC studios across the UK to register their protest against what they termed as the “biased” and “anti-India” documentary on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Hundreds gathered in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle over the weekend to call out “fake news” and “propaganda” by the public broadcaster and demanded an independent investigation into the controversial ‘India: The Modi Question’ two-part series aired earlier this month.
Jayu Shah of Friends of India Society International (FISI) UK said: “The documentary on Prime Minister Modi was very biased given that he was completely cleared by the Indian judiciary, and yet the BBC decides to become judge and jury.
“The BBC needs to be investigated internationally and the directors of the board of the BBC should be investigated for failing in their duty as a public broadcaster.”
Chinu, a British Assamese protester, added: “We are here to oppose the BBC’s propaganda against India, against Hindus and against Modiji. We are here to say: BBC, stop this.”
Protesters carried placards calling for a “Boycott” of the BBC and branded the broadcaster as “British Bias Corporation”, which was spreading “Communal Division”. They chanted pro-India slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and condemned what they branded as a “Hinduphobic narrative” being spread by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
At the demonstration in Manchester, the general sentiment of the demonstrators was that it was high time to call out “bias and prejudice”.
“It is always something bad, bad, bad,” an elderly community leader said, with reference to the BBC’s coverage of India.
Organisations behind the coordinated protests included Overseas Friends of BJP (UK), Friends of India Society International (FISI) UK, National Council of Hindu Temples UK (NCHTUK), Hindu Council UK, Vishwa Hindu Kendra Southall, Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), REACH UK, Indian Diaspora UK (IDUK) and Insight UK.
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Earlier this month, the Indian government had strongly condemned the BBC programme as a propaganda piece with a questionable agenda and “colonial mindset” behind it.
A Change.Org petition calling for an independent investigation into the controversial series has attracted over 22,000 within days.
The BBC has defended the programme as “rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards”.