Visuals from an anti-Modi protest held in London in 2021 have been wrongly linked to the controversy over the BBC documentary on Gujarat riots.
India's income-tax department raided the BBC's offices in New Delhi and Mumbai from February 14 to February 16, weeks after the release of their two-part series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The I-T department described the raid as a survey, at the end of which it said that the income and profits disclosed by the BBC's units were "not commensurate with the scale of operations in India," reported The Indian Express. The Indian government had responded sharply to BBC production and ordered YouTube and Twitter to block videos and tweets related to the documentary, stating that it was "undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India." Politicians in the United Kingdom have criticized India’s reaction to BBC’s work, and the issue of Modi and his party’s alleged role in the Gujarat riots has been reignited.
Amid such developments, a video has been circulating on Twitter claiming an anti-Modi protest was organized in London after the income tax raids on the offices of BBC India. The video shows a "Resign Modi" banner on London's iconic Westminster Bridge. Sharing the video, one user claimed that slogans had been raised in London against income tax raids on the BBC offices.
The viral video shows an anti-Modi protest in London on August 15, 2021. South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG), a Britain-based anti-imperialist, anti-racist organization, dropped a "Resign Modi" banner from the Westminster bridge. According to their website, SASG is a group "committed to supporting, publicizing, and building solidarity with people's struggles for justice and democracy and against exploitation, gender and caste-based oppression, imperialism, war and the so-called 'war on terror' in the countries of South Asia." We also found several images of the incident on the official Facebook page of SASG. The photos show a banner with "Resign Modi Indian Independence Day" written on it hanging on the iconic Westminster bridge. The organization released a statement after the protest, identifying the reasons behind their call for Modi's resignation. The statement said that “India's secular Constitution lies in tatters” and raised concerns against the growing communal and caste-based violence, blaming Modi for “violence, injustice and criminal negligence.”
SASG also shared a video of the "Resign Modi" protest on their Twitter account. The similarities between this video and the viral video prove that both capture the same incident. We also found a 1:50-minute-long video on the organization's YouTube channel that shows protestors placing the anti-Modi banner on Westminster bridge.
Several Indian media organizations, including The Hindu and Scroll, reported on the protest in London on India's Independence Day in 2021. According to Scroll, Mukti Shah, one of the organizers from South Asia Solidarity, said in a statement that calls for the genocide of Muslims in India and mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis are one of the primary reasons for the resignation call.
While protests against the Indian government have been organized over the years in Britain, members of the Indian diaspora have also held protests outside the BBC offices over its controversial documentary accusing the news network of being biased. However, several MPs in the U.K. raised concerns about the raids on the BBC in light of their documentary. Initially, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had defended PM Modi and said he disagreed with Modi's "characterization" in the series. However, after the raids, the U.K. government extended its support to the BBC.
An old video of an anti-Modi protest in London has shared to show a protest against the Indian PM after the income tax raids on BBC India's offices. The viral video was taken on August 15, 2021, when a diaspora group placed a "Resign Modi" banner on Westminster bridge. Therefore, we mark this claim false.