Attacking the Narendra Modi Government in an interaction arranged by the Indian Journalists Association in London, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the recent raids conducted at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) offices across India a “suppression of voice”, alleging that BJP under its “new Idea of India” wants India to be “silent”.
While speaking at the event on March 5, Rahul Gandhi was asked about the controversy regarding the BBC documentary and centre’s allegations of a “colonial hangover”, to which Rahul Gandhi replied, “It’s sort of similar to Mr Adani, it’s also a colonial hangover.”
Addressing the event, Rahul Gandhi said, “You know every place there is Opposition, there is an excuse. You asked why we did the yatra, what was the idea behind the yatra. The idea behind the yatra was an expression of voice. And there is suppression of voice across the country. Example is the BBC, but BBC is just one element of it.”
“You found out, well, the BBC has found out now, but it’s been going on in India for the last nine years, non-stop, everybody knows about that. Journalists are intimidated, they (are) attacked, they are threatened. And you know the journalists who toed the line of the government, are rewarded. So it’s a part of a pattern, and I wouldn’t expect anything different,” he added.
The Congress leader said that BJP wants India to be “silent” under the “new Idea of India”.
“If the BBC stops writing against the government, everything will go back to normal, all the cases will disappear, everything (will) go back to normal. So this is the new Idea of India. BJP wants India to be silent. They want it to be quiet, the Dalits, the lower castes, the Adivasis, the media they want silence, and they want silence because they want to be able to take what is India’s and give it to their close friends,” he said.
He further added, “So that’s basically the idea right, distract the population, and then hand over India’s wealth to two, three, four, five big people. I mean we have seen this, we have seen this before also, but that’s not something.”
Responding to audience’s question regarding the BBC issue, Rahul Gandhi said, “The point I was making about the BBC was that anybody who supports the Prime Minister blindly is supported, and anybody who raises question on the Prime Minister is attacked, and that’s what happened with the BBC.
On being asked about the allegations of “defaming India on foreign soil” Rahul Gandhi said, “There’s nothing defaming India in my Cambridge lecture.”
He said, “Last time I recall the Prime Minister going abroad, and announcing that there’s nothing done in 60 years of Independence, 70 years of Independence. I remember him saying that you know there is a lost decade of 10 years, there’s unlimited corruption in India. I remember him saying this abroad. These were not things he said in India, these were things he said abroad.”
Rahul Gandhi accused BJP of “twisting” his statements, and the media of “playing it up”.
“So, I have never defamed my country, I am not interested in it and I will never do it. Of course, the BJP likes to twist what I say, and that’s fine, and the media likes to sort of play it up. I mean, it gives TRPs and all, but the fact of the matter is the person who defames India is the Prime Minister of India.”
He further added, “You haven’t heard his speech? where he said nothing happened in 70 years, insulting every single Indian parents, Indian grandparents. The Independence is washed away, if that is not insult, then what’s an insult? Or saying you know there was a lost decade, nothing happened in India for the last 10 years. So what about all those people who worked in India, who built India in those 10 years? He’s doing on foreign soil.”
On being asked how the narratives get built up, the Congress leader alleged that it happens because Mr Adani is behind the narrative.
“Of course, it does (narrative gets built), because there’s money behind the narrative, there’s Mr Adani behind the narrative, there’s billions of dollars behind the narrative. And there’s a transfer taking place, and then India’s wealth is given to Mr Adani, so that’s the exchange, it’s a transfer. We don’t accept the transfer, we don’t do it, hence no narrative,” he further said.
The IT officials surveyed the UK-based broadcaster’s offices over a charge of ‘deliberate non-compliance with Indian laws’, including ‘transfer pricing rules and the diversion of profits illegally.’
The BBC had in January this year released the documentary film titled ‘India: The Modi Question,” which features the Gujarat riots of 2002. The film caused controversy for alluding to the leadership of Modi as chief minister during the riots while disregarding the clean chit given by the Supreme Court. (ANI)