Authorities and universities in India are trying to stop the distribution of a controversial BBC documentary about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In recent days, the government has asked Twitter and YouTube to remove links and video clips from the film, local media reported. And several universities are trying to discourage students from showing the film.
India’s foreign ministry said last week that the film was propaganda and had a “colonial attitude”. According to the BBC, the Indian government has previously declined to comment.
Modi’s role in the 2002 riot
The first part of the film, which was recently released in the UK, is about Modi’s role during the 2002 riots in the state of Gujarat, when Modi was the head of the local government. More than a thousand people were killed in the riots. The film speaks to those affected, activists and journalists at the time who say the authorities did not intervene adequately. There have been allegations like this before.
Planned film screening: Police arrested students
At a university in the capital New Delhi, students were arrested by police on Wednesday before a planned film screening, television station NDTV reported. And the night before, students accused the administration of another university in Delhi of shutting off electricity and internet on campus ahead of a performance planned but not approved by the university. Students then watched the film on their laptops and cell phones.
Criticism of the restriction of freedom of the press
Opposition politicians and human rights groups described the government’s actions as restricting press freedom. In the Reporters Without Borders ranking, India has dropped a few places in recent years – most recently to 150th out of 180.