India blocks BBC documentary on Modi
India has blocked the airing of a BBC documentary which questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying that even sharing of any clips via social media is barred.
Directions to block the clips from being shared have been issued using emergency powers available to the government under the country’s information technology rules, said Kanchan Gupta, an adviser to the government, on his Twitter handle on Saturday.
The government has issued orders to Twitter to block over 50 tweets linking to the video of the documentary and YouTube has been instructed to block any uploads of the video, Gupta said. Both YouTube and Twitter have complied with the directions, he added.
Modi was the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat when it was gripped by communal riots that left more than 1,000 people dead, by government count – most of them Muslims. The violence erupted after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59.
Human rights activists estimate at least double that number died in the rioting.
Modi denied accusations that he failed to stop the rioting. A special investigation team appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate the role of Modi and others in the violence said in a 541-page report in 2012 it could find no evidence to prosecute the then chief minister.
Modi was named the candidate for prime minister of his party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, in 2013 and led it to power in general elections in 2014 and then in 2019.
Last week, a spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry termed the BBC documentary a “propaganda piece” meant to push a “discredited narrative”.
Turkish President elected for a 3rd term
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters celebrated well into the night after Turkey’s long-time president secured another five years in power.
“The entire nation of 85 million won,” he told cheering crowds outside his enormous palace on the edge of Ankara.
But his call for unity sounded hollow as he ridiculed his opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu – and took aim at a jailed Kurdish leader and pro-LGBT policies.
The opposition leader did not explicitly concede victory.
Complaining of “the most unfair election in recent years”, Mr Kilicdaroglu said the president’s political party had mobilised all the means of the state against him.
President Erdogan ended with just over 52% of the vote based on near-complete unofficial results – almost half the electorate in this deeply polarised country did not back his authoritarian vision of Turkey.
Ultimately Mr Kilicdaroglu was no match for the well-drilled Erdogan campaign, even if he took the president to a run-off second round for the first time since the post was made directly elected in 2014.
But he barely dented his rival’s first-round lead, falling more than two million votes behind.
China’s self-developed large passenger aircraft, completes maiden flight
China’s first domestically-manufactured passenger jet – C919 has successfully completed its maiden commercial flight today (28).
State TV showed the C919 rising into the skies above Shanghai, heading to the capital Beijing early on Sunday.
It was built by the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (Comac) in the hope of breaking the dominance of Airbus and Boeing’s single-aisle jets.
But the 164-seater still relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics.
The Shanghai-Beijing leg of the journey, with more than 130 passengers on board, was completed in just under three hours.
New Indian Parliament inaugurated amid Opposition boycott
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is inaugurating India’s new parliament building amid a boycott of the ceremony by 20 opposition parties.
The opposition has criticised the government for not asking the president to open the new building.
They also denounced the decision to hold the event on the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called the boycott a “disrespect of democracy”.
The new parliament building is part of the government’s ambitious project to develop the Central Vista power corridor in capital Delhi.
On Sunday, Mr Modi will also unveil a new 75-rupee coin to commemorate the event and serve as a tribute to 75 years of India’s independence.
Built in front of the colonial-era parliament, the new four-storey building – built at an estimated cost of 9.7bn rupees ($117.1m, £94.2m) – has increased seating capacity.
The Lok Sabha chamber, which will seat the lower house of the parliament, is designed in the likeness of a peacock, India’s national bird. The Rajya Sabha chamber, which will seat the lower house, is designed resemble the lotus, India’s national flower.
Last week, 20 parties – including the main opposition Congress – had announced their “collective decision” to boycott the inauguration ceremony.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi said that the building should have been inaugurated by President Draupadi Murmu, the parliament’s highest constitutional authority.
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh also criticised the government’s decision to hold the event “on the birth anniversary of the man [Savarkar] who opposed Mahatma Gandhi vehemently all his life”.
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