BBC-Modi row: Tharoor targets people in 'secular camp' over 'move on' charge

Jan 28, 2023 08:29 AM IST

The first part of the BBC documentary revives the most controversial episode of Prime Minister Modi’s political career when he was the chief minister of Gujarat in 2002.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said he never asked people of India to “move on” from the 2002 Gujarat riots as a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought the violent chapter back in news. Tharoor said the wounds of Gujarat riots have not fully healed but stressed there was little to gain from debating the issue "when so many urgent contemporary matters need to be addressed."

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor speaks during the Jaipur Literature Festival, in Jaipur, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.(PTI)
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor speaks during the Jaipur Literature Festival, in Jaipur, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.(PTI)

Speaking to an online news portal, the Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram had said that India has “moved on from this tragedy” and people feel the matter should be "put behind" as two decades have passed and the Supreme Court has also given its judgment. The Congress leader, however, added that he was not “casting aspersions on those who believe that the full truth was not indeed revealed by the official investigations.” (Also Read | On India blocking BBC documentary on Modi, US says, ‘certainly a point we have…’)

Tharoor's comments draw ire from some sections as they highlighted his reparation demands from Britishers for the colonial rule.

A Twitter user named Ashok Singh Garcha said, “Shashi Tharoor demanded an apology from British Govt for Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919. Yesterday, he asked Indians to move on from the Gujarat massacre of 2002 !”

“I did not do that,” Tharoor replied.

“I've repeatedly made it clear that i believe the wounds of Gujarat have not fully healed, but that given that the Supreme Court has issued a final ruling, we gain little from debating this issue when so many urgent contemporary matters need to be addressed,” he said.

"I acknowledge that others may disagree with my view, but distorting my four-decade record on communal issues and two decades of standing up for the Gujarat riot victims is cynical in the extreme. People in the "secular camp" gain little from being viciously malicious to their own."

The BBC documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’ is critical of the role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat when sectarian violence claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people — mostly Muslims —after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was burned allegedly by a Muslim mob. The two-part documentary has not been broadcast in India but the central government blocked it last week and banned people from sharing clips on social media.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Kunal Gaurav is a multimedia journalist with Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He handles daily editorial operations for the digital news desk, including news tracking, news prioritisation, writing and editing.

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