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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Social media outcry as Indian tax agents raid BBC offices after Modi documentary

The raid by the Indian tax authorities has resulted in intense public backlash on social media as it is being considered another hit to BBC's press freedom for airing the controversial documentary. 

The raid at BBC offices in India by tax officials has sparked mass condemnations from social media for what is being considered another government retaliation for the critical documentary on Indian Prime Minister Modi.

According to the details in Indian media outlets, more than 50 Indian officials raided the BBC’s offices in New Delhi and Mumbai around noon. Police sealed off the New Delhi office, which occupies two floors, and half a dozen officers were stationed outside to prevent people from entering or leaving. There are also reports that the phones of the journalists were confiscated in the raid.

The surprise raid at BBC offices has raised alarm in India as it comes weeks after the British publisher aired a polarizing documentary examining Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rise and his role in the Gujarat Riots of 2002.

Read more: The Adani affair and implications for Modi regime

Gaurav Bhatia, a spokesman for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, told reporters in a conference that the BBC “must work within India laws” and called the organization “corrupt” without offering specifics. Meanwhile, BBC released a statement saying that they were “fully cooperating” with the tax authorities now in their New Delhi and Mumbai offices.

Nevertheless, the raid by the Indian tax authorities has resulted in intense public backlash on social media as it is being considered another hit to BBC’s press freedom for airing the controversial documentary.

“This raid/survey is so imbecile, childish, and beyond even silly. As hosts of G-20 what are we telling the world that rather than an emerging great power we are an insecure power? Whichever bright spark though this one up is Prime Minister Modi’s worst enemy,” Manish Tewari from the opposition Congress Party said.

The BBC documentary had caused quite a stir in India, however, the Modi government is adamant that the documentary is not shown anywhere. It has dismissed the documentary as propaganda and has since then launched what is being termed as media censorship by ordering YouTube and Twitter to remove the video links of the documentary.

Read more: Indian police detain students at screening of BBC documentary on Modi