In a riposte over the controversial BBC series, which was used by opposition parties like Congress to attack PM Modi, Jaishankar said that just like the phrase “war by other means”, the documentary is “politics by another means”.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Jaishankar said that often, politics of India doesn’t even originate in its borders but rather comes from “outside.”
“I mean, come on, you think timing is accidental! Let me tell you one thing – I don’t know if the election season has started in India, Delhi or not, but, for sure it has started in London, New York,” he added, apparently questioning the timing of the series which comes just a year ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
In an indirect reference to the opposition parties, Jaishankar said that “actual politics” is being conducted “ostensibly as media” by people who do not have the “courage to come into political field.”
“We are not debating just a documentary or a speech that somebody gave in a European city or a newspaper edits somewhere — we are debating, actually politics, which is being conducted ostensibly as media — there is a phrase ‘war by other means’ this is politics by another means — I mean you will do a hatchet job, you want to do a hatchet job and say this is just another quest for truth which we decided after 20 years to put at this time,” he said.
Hitting out at the “western media bias” against PM Modi, Jaishankar said the series is an attempt to shape a very “extremist” image of India.
“I mean, do you doubt it? Look who the cheerleaders are. What is happening is, just like I told you — this drip, drip, drip — how do you shape a very extremist image of India, of the government, of the BJP, of the Prime Minister. I mean, this has been going on for a decade, ” said Jaishankar.
The minister said that the motive behind planting such stories abroad is to further the anti-India agenda.
‘Why don’t we see a documentary on 1984 riots’
Jaishankar wondered if there was no bias in the release of the documentary, then why wasn’t there a similar series on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.
“Why suddenly there is a surge of reports and attention and views? I mean, were some of these things not happening earlier. Many things happened in Delhi in 1984, why don’t we see a documentary on that? If that was your concern, you suddenly feel one day, “I am very humanistic, I must get justice for people who have been wronged, ” he said.
He said we must not get fooled by such agendas and challenged the propogators to come out in the political field.
“This is politics at play by people who do not have the courage to come into the political field. They want to have that teflon cover saying that I am an NGO, media organisation etc. They are playing politics,” Jaishankar asserted.
The BBC’s two-part documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots had triggered a political furore in India. The documentary was blocked by the government on social media platforms.
(With inputs from ANI)