As the controversial BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ was screened by political groups, including the DYFI, the youth wing of CPI-M and Youth Congress in different parts Kerala on Tuesday, senior Congress leader and former Kerala chief minister A K Antony’s son Anil Antony said placing the views of the British broadcaster over Indian institutions would “undermine” the country’s sovereignty.
Anil Antony, who is the convener of KPCC Digital Media Cell, tweeted, “Despite huge differences of opinion with the BJP, I believe it is a very dangerous practice for those in India to prioritise the views of the BBC over Indian institutions. Moreover, it is an encroachment on our sovereignty. Because the BBC is a British backed channel with a long history of prejudice. Not only that, Jack Straw was the brains behind the Iraq war.”
The support from an unexpected quarter came to the BJP as a shot in the arm especially on a sensitive issue of the Gujarat riots.
Meanwhile, DYFI, the youth wing of the ruling CPI-M and the Youth Congress exhibited the controversial BBC documentary in various places in Kerala. The DYFI screened the documentary in Kozhikode and Thiruvannathapuram. The Youth Congress screened the documentary at the Manaveeyam street in Thiruvananthapuram.
The BJP and Yuva Morcha workers staged a protest against the exhibition of the documentary. Yuva Morcha workers marched towards the Manaveeyam Centre, where the documentary was exhibited. However, the police blocked the protesters on the way to the screening venue. Then Youth Congress workers watching the documentary rushed towards the protesters causing tension. The police arrested the BJP workers to save the situation.
SFI, the students’ wing of CPI-M, had announced that the exhibition of the documentary would be held at the seminar hall of the Mangattuparamba campus of Kannur University on Tuesday. As the university denied them permission to do so, the student body decided to screen the BBC documentary outside the seminar hall. But the campus director announced that the exhibition will not be allowed anywhere on the campus. Later, the documentary was screened outside the campus.
In the meantime, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee’s (KPCC) minority cell also said that the documentary would be screened in all district headquarters of the state on Republic Day.
Youth Congress state president Shafi Parambil said that reminders of betrayal and genocide cannot be hidden by power and the BBC documentary will be screened in Kerala. KSU, the students’ wing of Congress state President Aloysius Xavier said the documentary will be screened on college campuses. The BJP has come out against the move calling it ‘anti national’. BJP state president K Surendran filed a complaint with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan demanding denial of permission to screen the documentary in the state.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan also urged the chief minister not to allow the screening of the documentary in the state. He said that re-introducing the allegations rejected by the highest court of the country is questioning the credibility of the Supreme Court.