While The Opposition called the Income Tax department’s “survey” at the BBC offices on Tuesday “intimidation tactics” that showed the Centre’s “undemocratic and dictatorial” attitude, the BJP defended the action and accused the British broadcaster of “venomous” reporting on India. The BJP also called the BBC a “Brasht (corrupt) Bakwaas (rubbish) Corporation” with a “tainted and black history of working with malice against India.”
At a press conference held soon after the Income Tax operations started, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said, “Both the BBC’s propaganda and the Congress’s agenda are along the same lines.” He also said that both the BBC and the Congress support “anti-national forces.”
He said that the Income Tax staff had done the surveys “legally.” “The Income Tax department is no longer the ‘caged parrot,'” he said, referring to what the Supreme Court called government agencies during the Congress rule.
“In one of its shows, the BBC attacked our country in the worst way possible. The host of the show called Burhaan Wani, who led a terrorist group in Kashmir and was later killed, a “charismatic young militant.” What kind of journalism is this? You (BBC) work in India, but you are trying to destroy our Constitution. In another report, Holi was called a “dirty” holiday. What do you know about the holidays we celebrate? In another report, they insulted our heroes by saying that Mahatma Gandhi failed to free India in 1946,” Bhatia said.
“This shows that the BBC reports on India in a mean and shallow way. He said, “The BBC wants to do business in India, but it doesn’t respect the symbols of the country.”
“The BBC has become the most Brasht Bakwaas Corporation in the world because of what it does. Unfortunately, the goals of the BBC’s propaganda and the goals of Congress are the same. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is going places now, and some people don’t like that. The BBC is free to do journalism in India, but it must follow the rules of the country. “Why are they getting scared if they have been obeying the law?” he asked.
“Congress should remember that its own leader and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi banned BBC,” he said. He said that the Congress supported “anti-national” forces and added, “Your hatred for Modi is so strong that you even politicise the work of an investigation agency. You always question constitutional authorities like the Supreme Court and the Election Commission.
“My question to the Congress and other opposition parties is, how can they stand with the “anti-national” forces when the Income Tax survey hasn’t even come to a logical conclusion? Why can’t they just wait until the report comes out? Why does Congress always back China, the BBC, and even terrorists? ” he said.
The opposition, on the other hand, said that the Income Tax action was related to the BBC documentary on Modi. “The freedom of the press has been attacked many times by the Modi government. This is done without shame or remorse to shut down any voices that might be remotely critical. There can’t be a democracy that lasts if institutions are used to attack the media and the opposition. “The people will fight this,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, the head of the Congress.
“(The IT action) smells like desperation and shows that the Modi government is afraid of criticism. We are very angry about these attempts to scare people. “This undemocratic and authoritarian way of acting can’t go on any longer,” said K.C. Venugopal, the general secretary of the AICC.
“We want a joint parliamentary committee to look into the Adani case, but the government is going after the BBC,” said Jairam Ramesh, who is in charge of communication for the Congress.
“The government’s message to all citizens and groups is ‘behave, or else.’ The government says that freedom of the press means that you can say what you want as long as it agrees with what the government says. After almost destroying Amnesty International and Oxfam, the BBC is next. “It’s a shame,” said P Chidambaram, a senior Congress leader.
The CPI(M) said that the action was a “blatant attempt to scare and bother the TV channel because it had shown the documentary.” The CPI said that the documentary “upset the Modi government, which did not let it be shown in universities and other places.”
“It is a common thing for the Modi government to use raids by the Income Tax department and other agencies to scare the Indian media. This is now also true for a foreign media company that works in India. “This coercive action will make it even more clear to the rest of the world that the Modi government is an authoritarian one that wants to silence criticism from the media,” the CPI(M) said.
The CPI said that the Modi government has become “famous for attacking everyone who criticises and exposes its communal-fascist policies.”
The government was also criticised by the BSP, the Trinamool Congress, and the PDP. “The IT, ED, and CBI haven’t reached Adani’s office yet, but a team from the IT department is searching the BBC’s office in Delhi. It hurts what little freedom of the press there is left in India. India has the 150th most free press in the world. “It’s clear that India will continue to fall,” said BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali.
Mehbooba Mufti, the head of the PDP, said that the BJP-led government was “brazenly” going after “those who speak the truth.”
“There are rumours of an Income Tax raid at the BBC office in Delhi. Wow, that’s it? What a surprise. “In the meantime, please help Adani when he stops by the office of Chairman @SEBI India to talk,” TMC MP Mahua Moitra wrote on Twitter.
The AAP said that the IT action showed that Modi had reached the “heights of dictatorship.”
The Editors Guild of India said it was “deeply concerned” about the Income Tax action and that it was part of a “trend” of using government agencies to “threaten and harass” media outlets that are critical of the ruling establishment.