British foreign minister James Cleverly told news agency Reuters Wednesday he had raised the Income Tax department’s ‘survey’ of the BBC’s New Delhi and Mumbai offices during a bilateral meeting with external affairs minister S Jaishankar in the national capital. The UK government came out in defence of the BBC and its editorial freedom in that country’s Parliament, but also told opposition lawmakers it would not comment on an ongoing investigation. The ‘survey’ was triggered by the BBC’s two-part documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots, ‘India: The Modi Question’, which was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government directed social media platforms to block links to the documentary, which it called a ‘propaganda piece’ reflecting a colonial mindset. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was highly critical of the timing of the documentary and called it a ‘hatchet job’. The government has firmly denied links between Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the raids, and insisted the I-T department and tax officials were acting independently.
Today: December 9, 2023