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BBC’s Second Episode Zeroes in on Lynching of Muslims, Article 370, CAA and Delhi Violence

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – As the controversy around the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to rage, the Global News Group has aired its second episode zeroing in on the lynching of Muslims, revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir, the passage of the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), and Delhi communal violence.

The first episode of the documentary titled “India: Modi Question” focused on the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat when Modi was the chief minister of the state.

“The second episode examines the track record of Narendra Modi’s government following his re-election (as prime minister) in 2019. A series of controversial policies – the removal of Kashmir’s special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and a citizenship law that many said treated Muslims unfairly – has been accompanied by reports of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindus,” said the BBC about the episode aired on Tuesday.

The episode tells the stories of Alimuddin Ansari, who was lynched in Jharkhand, Faizan, who was beaten to death by policemen during the Delhi riots, Noor, who was put into the detention center in Assam over allegations of being an illegal immigrant, and Safoora Zargar, anti-CAA protester who was jailed in the Delhi riots case and others.

Like the first episode, this one also includes comments from experts including famed writer Arundhati Roy, Amnesty India chief Aakar Patel, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and others.

The latest episode starts with the story of Ansari who was killed by a Hindutva mob in 2017 in Jharkhand over the beef issue. The BBC points out that there were calls that Prime Minister Modi should speak up about it but he remained silent on the lynching of Muslims in the name of cow protection. The prime minister chose to speak only on the day Alimuddin was lynched. A BJP spokesperson was among those arrested for Alimuddin’s lynching him. Oddly enough, Union Minister Jayant Sinha helped the lynching convicts with legal fees and garlanded them after their release on bail.

“They are the rulers of the whole country and when rulers of the country support these people, we poor people can do nothing,” said Ansari’s wife in the film. Over four years later, the culprits are still roaming free.

The documentary also mentions other cases such as the lynching of Akhalq, Pehlu Khan and other incidents. Amnesty India’s Patel pointed out that the lynching began when Modi spoke about the pink revolution in one of his speeches.

The documentary cites the Human Rights Watch report to note that over three and a half years between May 2015 and December 2018, cow vigilantes killed 44 people and injured around 280 in cow-related violence, out of which most victims were Muslim.

“The fundamental aim is to Hinduise the way that India functions and irrevocably change the political, social and cultural nature of India. Essentially, the gloves are off,” Chris Ogden, an expert on Indian politics and associate professor at the University of St Andrews, said.

The second significant issue touched upon in the documentary is the revocation of Article 370. Talking to a human rights activist, the film points out how the Central government cracked down on the people of Kashmir to revoke the state’s special status. Unwarranted detention of political leaders, activists, lawyers, and journalists and the cutting off of all communication channels were some of the major steps used by the Union Government to crush the voice of Kashmiris.

Another prominent issue to figure in the documentary is the passage of the discriminatory citizenship law named CAA, the countrywide protests against it, police perpetuated violence in Jamia Millia Islamia, and the communal riots in northeast Delhi. The documentary shows how the police not only stood by and watched but in some areas took part in the violence. It also cites the report of human rights groups which bares police complicity in the violence. 

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