Delhi Court Resummons BBC Over ‘India: The Modi Question’ Documentary


New Delhi: In a recent development from the capital, a Delhi court has reissued a summons to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) concerning the contentious documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’. The court’s action follows an unsuccessful initial attempt to deliver the summons, prompting the issuance of a new one to the BBC’s headquarters in the United Kingdom. The case is scheduled for a hearing on August 27, 2024.

The legal proceedings began when Binay Kumar Singh, a leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), initiated a defamation lawsuit against the BBC. The Rohini court responded by issuing a summons to the corporation in May 2023. The summons extended to other entities, including Wikipedia and Internet Archive, in relation to the documentary that scrutinizes the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Singh’s petition accuses the documentary of maligning prominent Indian organizations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and the BJP. He contends that the allegations made in the documentary are unfounded and have the potential to tarnish the reputation and image of these organizations and their members.

The documentary in question implicates Prime Minister Modi in the alleged targeted violence against a specific community during the Gujarat riots of 2002. It claims that the violence resulted in the deaths of at least 2,000 individuals, predominantly Muslims, and suggests that it was orchestrated by extremist Hindu nationalist groups. Singh has refuted these allegations, labeling them as baseless and slanderous, and accuses the BBC of deliberately disseminating unverified rumors.

Furthermore, Singh has demanded that the defendants issue an unconditional apology to both him and the organizations mentioned for the defamatory content aired in the documentary series. He has also sought monetary compensation amounting to Rs 10 lakh for the purported defamation.

The documentary series ‘India: The Modi Question’, released by the BBC in January last year, delves into the 2002 Gujarat riots during Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister. It explores his early political career, ties with the RSS, his rise within the BJP, and his appointment as Chief Minister. However, the Indian government has denounced the documentary, leading to its removal from various platforms, including YouTube and Twitter.