Anil's stand that BBC documentary would threaten national security immature: Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Senior Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor joined the crop of party leaders who have criticised former Congress leader Anil Antony for his remarks on the controversial BBC documentary, 'India: The Modi Question'.

His (Anil) stand that a documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots would threaten the sovereignty and national security of India was immature, said Tharoor.

Anil Antony, son of former Union minister and veteran Congress leader A K Antony, resigned from the party after facing severe flak for his tweet against screening the controversial two-part documentary, which claims to have investigated crucial aspects relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state.  

Talking to a YouTube channel about the chaos surrounding the documentary, he said: "If the government had not gone over the top in condemning the documentary, thereby drawing attention to something that wasn't otherwise available in India, there wouldn't have been all this noise. I was bemused by the vehemence of the government's reaction. A mature democracy would have simply ignored and said people can say what they want to and we've got more important things to deal with in today's India."

Responding to the timing and purpose of the controversial documentary, Tharoor said the tragedy is something Indians, including Muslims, have put behind them.

"This (Gujarat riots) happened 21 years ago and it is a matter the Supreme Court has ruled on. The tragedy is something that all Indians, including Muslims, feel we now should put behind us," said Tharoor.

He further said it was only fair to question the purpose of releasing such a documentary at this point. "If India has moved on from this tragedy, without in any way casting aspersions on those who believe that the full truth was not revealed by the official investigations, why should a foreign television channel open the old wounds is a fair question," he said.

Criticising the Centre's attempts to remove all links from social media platforms, Tharoor said not allowing the people to watch what they want goes against the tenets of democracy. "Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this country. However, when a foreign organisation talks about the prime minister or the country, it can be construed differently," he added.

The MP said he was against the Centre not allowing the documentary to be screened. "Censorship is not a part of the Constitution. The BBC documentary is based on ground reports sent by British diplomats during the riots in 2002. Likewise, India too had diplomats reporting from Britain during the riots there," he said.

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