"I am not sure I agree at all with the characterisation"
Rishi Sunak defended the controversial BBC documentary The Modi Question after it was raised as a concern that was raised as a concern by MP Imran Hussain.
Defending Narendra Modi in Parliament, Rishi Sunak distanced himself from the BBC documentary and said that he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation” of India’s Prime Minister.
Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, raised a question during Prime Minister’s Questions on January 18, 2023.
The MP said: “Last night, the BBC revealed that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office knew the extent of Narendra Modi’s involvement in the Gujarat massacre that paved the way for the persecution of Muslims and other minorities that we see in India today.
“Given that hundreds were brutally killed and that families across India and the world, including here in the UK, are still without justice.
“Does the Prime Minister agree with his Foreign Office diplomats that Modi was directly responsible?
“What more does the Foreign Office know about Modi’s involvement in that grave act of ethnic cleansing?”
In response to Imran Hussain, Rishi Sunak replied:
“The UK government’s position on this has been clear and long-standing and hasn’t changed, of course, we don’t tolerate persecution where it appears anywhere.
“But I am not sure I agree at all with the characterisation that the honourable gentleman has put forward.”
The BBC aired a two-part series critiquing PM Narendra Modi’s tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister during the Gujarat riots of 2002.
The documentary sparked outrage and has since been removed from select platforms.
The BBC’s narrative of the Indian PM was raised as a concern by Indians living in the UK who condemned the series.
Lord Rami Ranger said: “BBC caused a great deal of hurt to over a billion Indians.”
Condemning the biased reporting of BBC, Rami tweeted:
“@BBCNews You have caused a great deal of hurt to over a billion Indians. It insults a democratically elected @PMOIndia Indian Police and the Indian judiciary.
“We condemn the riots and loss of life and also condemn your biased reporting.”
The Ministry of External Affairs in India also reacted to the BBC report and said that this is a completely biased version of events.
While addressing a weekly briefing in New Delhi, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said:
“We think this is a propaganda piece. This has no objectivity. This is biased. Do note that this hasn’t been screened in India.”
“We don’t want to answer more on this so that this doesn’t get much dignity.
“The documentary is a reflection of the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again. It makes us wonder about the purpose of the exercise and the agenda behind it; frankly, we do wish to dignify these efforts.”