Rights Groups to Screen BBC Documentary on Modi in DC before his Arrival

Two human rights groups have invited policymakers, journalists and analysts to a screening in Washington of a BBC documentary critical of Narendra Modi just prior to the Indian prime minister’s state visit to the White House next week.

Modi on BBCHuman rights groups will screen BBC documentary on Modi, (Photo: New Global Times/Twitter, License)Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have scheduled the private screening for June 20, two days ahead of Modi’s official state visit hosted by U.S. President Joseph R. Biden. In announcing the screening Monday, Human Rights Watch said it wanted it to serve as a reminder that the documentary has been banned in India.

The two-part documentary, “India: The Modi Question”, focused on Modi’s leadership as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat during riots in 2002 in which at least 1,000 people were killed, most of them Muslims. Activists put the toll at more than twice that.

Tax officials inspected offices of the BBC in New Delhi and Mumbai in February and the financial crime agency opened an investigation into the broadcaster in April over charges of violations of foreign exchange rules. A government adviser had said the inspection was not “vindictive”, while activists denounced it as an attack on press freedom.

“Modi banned the BBC documentary on his troubling passivity while mobs were killing Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 (while he was chief minister there), so HRW and Amnesty International will screen the film in Washington,” Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of HRW, wrote on Twitter.