Various political groups including the DYFI, SFI and the Youth Congress had announced that they would screen the controversial BBC documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’.

Screengrab from video of the protestScreengrab
news Protest Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 08:50
Written by  Inputs PTI

The controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots was screened across Kerala on Tuesday, January 24, by various political organisations including the Students Federation of India (SFI), even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went up in arms protesting against the screening. BJP members took out protests in several parts of the state against the screening of the documentary, titled India: The Modi Question. In Thiruvananthapuram, police resorted to water cannons to disperse the protestors.

Protest marches were taken out by BJP members to Victoria College in Palakkad and Government Law College in Ernakulam, where SFI followed through with its announcement to screen the documentary. In both places, police intervened to remove the protestors and prevent conflict. The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala, said it will screen the documentary not just in the southern state, but across India. “It has to be shown to the public irrespective of the attempts by the Union government to hide it,” VK Sanoj, state secretary of the DYFI, told reporters. He said there was nothing "anti-national" about screening the documentary as it has not been banned.

Meanwhile, former chief minister AK Antony's son Anil said that placing the views of the British broadcaster over Indian institutions would "undermine" the country's sovereignty. "Despite large differences with BJP, I think those (in India) placing views of BBC, a state sponsored channel with a long history of (alleged India) prejudices, and of Jack Straw, the brain behind the Iraq war, over (Indian) institutions is setting a dangerous precedence, will undermine our sovereignty," Anil Antony, who had handled the digital communications of Congress’s Kerala unit till recently, tweeted.

Read: ‘Gujarat riots pre-planned’: Caravan accesses UK report shown on BBC Modi documentary

Earlier in the day, various political groups in Kerala announced they would screen the documentary, prompting the BJP to urge Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to intervene and put a stop to such endeavours. The DYFI kicked off the political storm in the state over the documentary, by announcing on its Facebook page that it would be screened across the state.  Subsequently, SFI and various wings of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), including the Youth Congress, followed suit. The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee's (KPCC) minority cell also said that the documentary would be screened in all district headquarters of the state on Republic Day.

BJP termed such move as "treasonous" and asked the Kerala CM to urgently intervene, and state party president K Surendran filed a complaint with CM Pinarayi demanding that permission be not given to screen the documentary in the state.

Read: JNU cuts power to prevent screening of BBC documentary on PM Modi

Also read: AK Antony’s son Anil says supporting BBC documentary on Modi sets dangerous precedent

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