It is not often that the largely well-heeled Indian diaspora, scattered widely across the world, comes together on a Sunday afternoon to publicly rage against the BBC.
Hundreds of British Indians held placards in five UK cities–London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle–and asked for a ban on public funds for the global broadcaster. For the worried Indian diaspora the protest was not just about ‘the Modi question’. It was also about pushing back against “biased-reporting and propaganda-driven journalism” that is making the Hindus uncomfortable.
Live from BBC headquarters in #Newcastle.
Mass protests by the British Hindu & Indian diaspora against BBC’s anti-Modi documentary & continued anti-Hindu & anti-india bias & propaganda.#BBC #BBCBias #BBCPropaganda #DefundTheBBC #BoycottBBC #india #hindus #Hinduphobia #Modi pic.twitter.com/s4HzvInlFZ
— INSIGHT UK (@INSIGHTUK2) January 29, 2023
NHS doctor Dr Vivek Kaul told India Narrative: “We the Indian diaspora wanted to demonstrate disgust after watching the one-sided biased BBC documentary. It raked up issues more than two decades back. It was clearly made to divide Indian communities who are living in peace in India and also the UK”.
The Hindus have also demanded an independent investigation into the BBC documentary, which they say is “garnished with lots of misplaced victimbood… hearsay, personal opinions of well-known Modi haters and conjecture”. The protests gave them an opportunity to highlight how the Modi government “is credited with large-scale social and financial inclusion programmes which
have benefited millions in India” irrespective of their ethnicity.
Shakeel Afsar a vulgar YouTuber is intimidating British Indians and using uncouth words for the Hindu community. The Indians were protesting against the biased propaganda telecasted in BBC against Narendra Modi. pic.twitter.com/zN8JE1bEi0
— REACH 🇮🇳 (UK) Chapter (@reachind_uk) January 29, 2023
The peaceful protests were disrupted in Birmingham after an abusive Muslim youth tried to intimidate the demonstrators and get into a physical confrontation. Hindu organisations and individuals reported YouTuber Shakeel Afsar to the Birmingham police for intimidation and racial slurs.
The diaspora is concerned that the BBC documentary is fueling hatred against the community as it comes barely three months after the violent attacks on Hindus and Hindu symbols in Leicester by radical Muslim mobs – which forced some Hindu families to flee the city.
This is the protest about the Modi documentary outside BBC in Manchester. https://t.co/oKT0HccH1V via @timesofindia pic.twitter.com/GZWJ8t9rzC
— Naomi Canton (@naomi2009) January 30, 2023
Talking about the enthusiastic participation in different cities, Hirdesh Gupta of the Indian Diaspora UK (IDUK) said: “We managed to bring the various elements of the diaspora together – temples, students, the elderly people, the NGOs and other groups. The Hindu organisations are worried that the BBC is spreading hate against us and making us vulnerable”.
Protest against BBC biased documentary in Glasgow #BBCdocumentry pic.twitter.com/ucEfGHxWkU
— Dr Poonam Gupta OBE (@PoonamOBE) January 29, 2023
Giving another example where the Hindus mobilised themselves in large numbers successfully, Gupta says the Indian diaspora came together in nearly 50 UK cities in October 2021 after it noticed an unending streak of violence and arson on temples in Bangladesh during Navratri.
The violence that shook Bangladesh in 2021 saw violence, murders and arson during the Hindus festivals, prompting Hindus to demonstrate outside the Bangladesh High Commission in London as well as nearly 50 other cities in the country.