Anil Antony's opinions on the amateurish BBC documentary Tharoor

Anil Antony's opinions on the amateurish BBC documentary Tharoor

On Wednesday, senior Congressman Shashi Tharoor dismissed the opinions of Anil Antony, the son of party colleague and former defense minister A K Antony, about a contentious BBC documentary on the Gujarat riots and referred to his claim that it violated India's sovereignty as "immature."

Anil had said in a tweet on Tuesday that it would be dangerous to prioritize the British broadcaster's opinions above Indian institutions. Since then, he has resigned from every position he had inside the Congress party, alleging "intolerant calls" and "abuses" in relation to the situation.

The Lok Sabha representative for Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor, said that it is the citizens' right to watch or not watch the BBC program about the riots of 2002 and questioned who has the right to object to the British broadcaster covering the subject.

The right for us to view a documentary is guaranteed by the country's Constitution, he said.

When questioned about Anil's claim that giving the BBC primacy over Indian institutions would "undermine" our sovereignty, Tharoor stated he could not concur.

I think this is a young position, he remarked.

Since our nation's sovereignty cannot be so easily compromised, will it be impacted if a foreign documentary is screened?

If the fragility of our national security and sovereignty makes it possible for a documentary to have an impact, he questioned.

The leader, however, said that Anil, who had long handled the grand old party's digital communications, was a "decent guy" and that he had not brought up the BBC documentary problem with him.

Anil, who is said to be close to Tharoor, specifically praised him in his resignation letter to the party leadership on Wednesday, abandoning his responsibilities in the Congress as the National Co-coordinator of AICC Social Media and Digital Communications Cell and the convener of KPCC Digital Media. Anil had tweeted on Tuesday that, despite significant disagreements with the BJP, those who support and place the views of the British broadcaster and of the former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw—whom many refer to as the "brain behind the Iraq war" (involving the US-led coalition in 2003)—over Indian institutions are creating a dangerous precedent.

The Ministry of External Affairs has denounced the two-part BBC documentary as a "propaganda piece" that lacked impartiality and had a "colonial mentality" and alleges it explored specific elements of the 2002 Gujarat riots while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state's chief minister.