‘Telling truth in India can be a crime’: Aus lawmakers on BBC Modi docu

Aakashi Bhatt, whose father submitted an affidavit alleging Modi’s role in the riots, threw light upon the state of Gujarat during the period, adding that Muslims were mercilessly targeted during the pogrom.

The BBC documentary, India: The Modi Question, was screened at the parliament house in Australia on Wednesday, the same day on which Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart.

The screening, which was organised by a group of lawmakers and activists, included senators Jordan Steele-John, David Shoebridge, and Aakashi Bhatt, daughter of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, among others.

During the panel discussion, senator David Shoebridge said that telling the truth can be a crime in India and remarked that the documentary only shows a small glimpse of the experiences that the people in the country go through.

Aakashi Bhatt, whose father submitted an affidavit alleging Modi’s role in the riots, threw light upon the state of Gujarat during the period, adding that Muslims were mercilessly targeted during the pogrom.

Senator Jordan Steele-John expressed concerns over the Australian Prime Minister’s failure to discuss deteriorating human rights situations in India with PM Modi. Senator Shoebridge also questioned why the Australian PM was not putting such issues on the table.

Dr Kalpana Wilson, of the Britain-based anti-imperialist, anti-racist organisation South Asian Solidarity Group, talked about how far-right regimes across the world look at Modi’s actions as a model for what they aspire to be.

“Some of the most vocal allies have been voted out, like Trump and Bolsonaro. We’re seen Indians also reject hate by Hindu supremacists, with resistance at the grassroots level to what supremacists are doing,” she said.

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