India Raids BBC Offices After Modi Documentary Airs

The Associated Press reports:

Officials from India’s Income Tax Department searched the BBC’s offices in New Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday, weeks after it broadcast a controversial documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the British broadcaster said.

The BBC said it was cooperating fully. “We hope to have this situation resolved as soon as possible,” it said in a statement. Rights groups and opposition politicians denounced the move as an intimidation tactic intended to quash the media.

The search continues “a trend of using government agencies to intimidate and harass press organizations that are critical of government policies or the ruling establishment,” the Editors Guild of India said in a statement.

The BBC reports:

Although the documentary was broadcast on television only in the UK, India’s government has attempted to block people sharing India: The Modi Question online, calling it “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage” with a “colonial mind-set”.

Last month, police in Delhi detained students as they gathered to watch the film. The documentary focused on the prime minister’s role in anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister of the state.

The general secretary of the opposition Congress party, KC Venugopal, said Tuesday’s search “reeks of desperation and shows that the Modi government is scared of criticism”.