On Monday (January 23, US local time), a Pakistani journalist named Jalil Afridi was slammed by the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price after the former tried to rake up the BBC documentary on Indian PM Narendra Modi to sour the bilateral relations between the two countries.
At about 1 hour and 2 minutes into the press briefing, he claimed that the United States has compromised on its value by refusing to condemn Narendra Modi for his supposed involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots (an insinuation made by the BBC’s propaganda documentary).
Jalil Afridi, who serves as the Managing Editor of The Frontier Post said, “I have never challenged the strategic interest of the US with India, but I regret the fact that since last eight years that I have been covering the State Department I have not seen once a senior official standing here at your seat condemning Narendra Modi himself individually – not just as a prime minister but individually his acts.”
Ned Price responded, “I am not aware of this documentary that you point to, but I will say broadly is that there are a number of elements that undergird the global strategic partnership that we have with our Indian partners.”
“There are close political ties, there are economic ties, there are exceptionally deep people-to-people ties between the United States and India. But one of those additional elements are the values that we share, the values that are common to American democracy and to Indian democracy,” he emphasised.
“India, of course, is the world’s largest democracy. It’s a vibrant democracy. And again, we look to everything that ties us together, and we look to reinforce all of those elements that tie us together,” the US State Department spokesperson schooled the Pakistani journalist.
Nonetheless, Jalil Afridi nudged Ned Price in the hopes of soliciting a hostile response about India or its Prime Minister. “How is it possible that State Department officials who were posted there at that time did not know that this individual, who was a former chief minister,” he asked.
“It happened right under his nose. Two thousand people were burned alive,” the Managing Director of The Frontier Post resorted to peddling disinformation.
Ned denies seeing BBC documentary on Modi’s Massacre in Gujrat, India https://t.co/HFIblCpZW9
— Jalil Afridi (@afridijalil) January 24, 2023
“Again, I’m not familiar with the documentary you’re referring to. I am very familiar with the shared values that connect the United States and India as two thriving, vibrant democracies,” Ned Price reiterated.
He concluded, “When we have concerns about actions that are taken in India, we’ve voiced those. We’ve had an occasion to do that. But we want first and foremost to reinforce those values that are at the heart of our relationship.”
The Background of the BBC controversy
Recently, BBC aired a two-part documentary attacking PM Narendra Modi’s tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister during the Gujarat riots of 2002. India has denounced the controversial program as a “propaganda piece” that is designed to push a discredited narrative.
One of the nefarious objectives behind the documentary was to whitewash the role of Islamists in the Godhra train carnage, which claimed a total of 59 Hindu lives.
It further used the already discredited statements of Sanjiv Bhatt and RB Sreekumar to attack the Indian Prime Minister. BBC even used the claims of Babu Bajrangi and Haresh Bhatt, who have admitted that they were reading the script given by a journalist, to try and declare PM Modi guilty.