The Indian court wants to hear from the BBC about the Modi video defamation case.
Monday, the Delhi High Court sent a notice to the BBC asking for an answer to a defamation case about a documentary about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that questioned his leadership during the Gujarat riots in 2002.
The documentary “India: The Modi Question” was mostly about Modi’s job as chief minister of the western state during riots in 2002 that killed at least 1,000 people, most of whom were Muslims. Activists say it’s more than twice as many.
Modi has denied that he didn’t do enough to stop the riots, and a probe ordered by the Supreme Court found no reason to bring charges against him.
The lawsuit was filed because, according to the court order, the documentary “tarnishes the reputation of the country” and “makes false and defamatory imputations and insinuations” about the country’s prime minister, judiciary, and criminal justice system.
The court asked the channel to give an answer by September 25.
A BBC representative said, “We know about the court case. At this point, it wouldn’t be right to say anything else.”
India and Britain’s relationship has gotten worse since the documentary and a “breach of security” at the Indian High Commission in March. This comes at a time when they are having trouble making progress in free trade talks.
When the documentary aired in January, India was very angry about it. They called it a biased “propaganda piece” and stopped people from sharing any clips from it on social media.
In February, tax officials went to the BBC’s offices in Delhi and Mumbai, and in April, the financial crime agency started looking into the station for allegedly breaking foreign exchange rules.
The tax office said that it found proof of unreported income in the records of a “international media company,” but it didn’t say that the company was the BBC. A government adviser said that the check was not done to “get back at” anyone.
The BBC has said in the past that it stuck by its reporting for the documentary, which was not shown in India, and that it “does not have an agenda.”