PETITIONERS, who have challenged the ban on BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are wasting the “precious time” of the Supreme Court, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said, on Monday. The documentary, which explores then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 communal riots, is “propaganda” and “biased”, Centre has claimed.

“This is how they waste the precious time of Hon’ble Supreme Court where thousands of common citizens are waiting and seeking dates for justice,” Rjiju said in a tweet. He was responding to media reports that said senior journalist N Ram, activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, and others have challenged the ban on the documentary – India: the Modi question – in the Supreme Court.

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The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had asked YouTube to remove the video from its platform and Twitter to remove links to the video. Later External Affaris Ministry’s spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, had called the documentary “a piece of “propaganda” that reflects the “agencies and individuals” who carry a “colonial mindset”. The I&B Ministry blocked the documentary for public using its emergency powers that were accorded to it by the new IT Rules.

Senior advocates ML Sharma and CU Singh are representing N Ram and Bhushan respectively. They sought urgent listing of their PILs that have been filed separately on the issue. A Supreme Court bench, which is headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, took note of the their lawyers’ submissions.

The Centre had blocked the videos and links of it from YouTube and Twitter on January 21. The documentary shows that under the Prime Ministership of Labour leader Tony Blair, the Unted Kingdoms conducted an investigation into the riots that included at least three Indian-origin British citizens among the casualties.

“There were very serious claims that Chief Minister Modi had played a proactive part in pulling back the police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists,” Jack Straw, former UK Foreign Secretary, is shown saying in the documentary, according to a report by the Hindu.


(With agency inputs)

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