The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) has stated that it is disappointed with the BBC’s ‘anti-Hindu bias’, adding that the country’s national broadcaster lacked judgment in airing the programme, which has the potential to cause untold damage at a time when “communities, police and ordinary people in Leicester and other cities are trying to rebuild relationships, trust and harmony after the events of Summer 2022.”
In a letter to Deborah Turness, CEO of BBC News, HFB wrote, “In this 100th year of broadcasting at the BBC the core ethos of impartial reporting appears to have been sadly lost in the content of INDIA: The Modi Question. The Hindu community has in large numbers communicated to us the insensitivity and lack of judgment the BBC has exercised in airing a programme which has the potential to cause untold damage at a time when communities, police and ordinary people in Leicester and other cities are trying to rebuild relationships, trust and harmony after the events of Summer 2022.”
The Hindu Forum of Britain is an organisation of British Hindus, with more than 300 member organisations from around the country. HFB is the first port of call from the central Government and the most reported Hindu organisation in the British media.
The letter also mentioned BBC’s Annual Report 2021/22, which states, ‘Renewing our commitment to impartiality’ and said that impartiality is fundamental to the trust that audiences have in the BBC.
“It is the cornerstone of who we are and what we do, and the reason we are valued as an independent voice throughout the world. Impartiality has never been easy, but our audiences are right to expect the highest possible standards,” the letter read.
“This preposterous ill-advised production and airing of a Hindu hate piece could well be the ammunition thugs need to go out and target Hindus. Does the BBC not have any responsibility? The program itself was unbalanced and inaccurate. Any loss of life must be condemned. 59 Hindus were brutally burnt alive and several suffered life-changing burns when an organised mob burnt coach S-6 of a train with Hindu pilgrims on board in 2002. This, and only this killing of innocent men, women and children was the trigger point for what happened subsequently by way of disturbances in Gujarat but very little air time was given to this,” the letter stated further.
HFB also said the Supreme Court of India had cleared Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name from the Gujarat riots. The Hindu Forum of Britain value the UK-INDIA trade, education and cultural ties and hopes that despite attempts to damage this by defaming the elected leader of the world’s largest democracy, it will remain intact and flourish.
“One of the biggest strengths of our NHS is the dedication and professionalism of doctors and nurses from India. Today, HFB has heard voices of disgust about the biased nature of the programme from all sections of the community,” the letter added.
The HFB expressed repulsion at the total lack of understanding of Hindu sentiments by the BBC. “BBC should be a cause for good. Any broadcast which stokes disharmony amongst communities and damages years of good work which the Hindu Forum of Britain and other organisations do to bring communities together is despicable,” it said.
“We can only hope that part 2 of the programme will redress the balance and go some way to restoring our TRUST in the BBC. We remain hopeful. We await a swift and comprehensive response to our concerns,” the HFB said in the letter.
Earlier on January 19, India denounced the controversial BBC documentary series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, describing it as a ‘propaganda piece’ designed to push a discredited narrative.
“We think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias and lack of objectivity and frankly continuing colonial mindset are blatantly visible,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, reacting to a Pakistan-origin MP’s question in the British parliament on the series, said he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation” of PM Modi.
Lord Rami Ranger, a member of the House of Lords of the UK Parliament, condemned BBC’s documentary and said it would hurt over a billion Indians as it insults democratically elected PM Modi and also the Indian judiciary.
“@BBCNews, You have caused a great deal of hurt to over a billion Indians. It insults a democratically elected @PMOIndia, Indian Police & the Indian judiciary. We condemn the riots and loss of life & also condemn your biased reporting,” Rami Ranger tweeted.
It is to be noted that multiple YouTube videos sharing the first episode of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” has been blocked as per the directions issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of India.
Along with YouTube videos, the Indian Government has also directed Twitter to block over 50 tweets containing links to the concerned YouTube videos.
(With inputs from ANI)