The Indian Revenue Service has raided BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai. The service does not explain the operation, but a spokesperson for the ruling party BJP says the British broadcaster should not “spew poison” in India, a few weeks after the BBC made a critical documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The BBC is guilty of anti-Indian propaganda,” said the spokesman. There was a lot to do about the documentary last month. Modi’s government blocked screenings, and sharing clips on social media was banned. The power was even turned off at one university to prevent students from watching the film. More than twenty people were arrested there.
The documentary criticizes Modi’s actions during the deadly riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002. He was the prime minister there when more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. Interviewees suggest that Modi has told police to look away from the violence.
All telephones were confiscated during the raid in New Delhi, and a BBC employee tells AFP news agency. The BBC says it fully cooperates with the investigation and hopes the situation will be resolved soon.
Human rights activists say press freedom in India has declined further under Modi. In 2021, the tax authorities also raided an Indian broadcaster and a newspaper that had been critical of the government’s corona approach.