(Corrects eighth paragraph to state that Modi was chosen as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2013 but was never the party’s president.)
BENGALURU (Reuters) – India has said that even the posting of any footage on social media is prohibited, and has so prevented the airing of a BBC documentary that questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Kanchan Gupta, a government adviser, posted on his Twitter account on Saturday that instructions to prevent the video from being disseminated have been given using emergency powers granted to the government under the nation’s information technology regulations.
The documentary hasn’t been shown by the BBC in India, although certain YouTube channels have the video, according to Gupta.
According to Gupta, the government has ordered YouTube to stop allowing any uploads of the documentary’s video and Twitter to remove more than 50 tweets that link to it. He said that Twitter and YouTube both followed the rules.
When sectarian riots erupted in Gujarat, a western state, Modi was its chief minister. According to the government’s estimates, more than 1,000 people died during the riots, the most of them Muslims. After a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire and killed 59 people, violence broke out.
Human rights advocates estimate that at least twice as many people perished in the unrest.
Modi rejected claims that he did not put an end to the unrest. A 541-page report by a special investigative team the Supreme Court established to look into Modi’s and others’ involvement in the violence stated in 2012 that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the then-chief minister.
The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party chose Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in 2013, and he later led the party to victory in both the 2014 and 2019 general elections.
The BBC broadcast was described as “propaganda” last week by a representative of India’s foreign ministry in order to further a “discredited narrative.
“(The eighth paragraph of this article has been changed to make it clear that Modi was never the BJP president but rather the party’s candidate for prime minister.)
(Ira Dugal reported; Raju Gopalakrishnan and Frances Kerry edited.)