On Wednesday Anil Antony, the son of former Kerala Chief Minister A K Antony resigned from all his Congress roles in response to backlash over a tweet on the BBC documentary, ‘India: The Modi Question’ about the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Anil Antony announced his resignation via a tweet in which he claimed that the “wall of hate/abuse” on Facebook over the same issue and the “intolerant calls” to retract his tweet against the documentary had led him to make the choice.
On Wednesday morning, Anil took to Twitter and wrote, “I have resigned from my roles in @incindia @INCKerala.Intolerant calls to retract a tweet, by those fighting for free speech. I refused. @facebook wall of hate/abuses by ones supporting a trek to promote love! Hypocrisy thy name is! Life goes on. Redacted resignation letter below.” He also included a letter of resignation in his tweet.
In a portion of the redacted resignation letter Anil wrote that Considering the events from yesterday, he believes that it would be appropriate for him to leave all his roles in the Congress — as the Convener of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee Digital Media, and as the National Co-coordinator of All India Congress Committee Social Media and Digital Communications Cell.
He concluded by writing, ‘I would prefer to continue my other professional endeavors without being fed this negativity and being involved in these destructive narratives, many against the very core interest of India. These, I strongly believe, will end up in the dustbin of history with time.’
Anil’s controversial viewpoint on the BBC documentary sparked strong objections. The resignation of Anil as the Kerala-based Congress IT cell’s coordinator was demanded by several leaders.
While speaking to ANI, he stated “I was speaking from my conscience. Whatever internal conflicts we may have, we shouldn’t allow them to be used by foreign organizations to create division in this nation.”
Background of the controversy
Earlier on Tuesday, Antony tweeted on the BBC Documentary, “Despite large differences with BJP, I think those in India placing views of BBC, UK state-sponsored channel with a long history of India prejudices, and of Jack Straw, the brain behind the Iraq war, over Indian institutions is setting a dangerous precedence, will undermine our sovereignty.”
In response to Antony’s tweet on Tuesday, state Congress president K Sudhakaran stated, “Congress is committed to safeguarding the freedom of expression. The party is not associated with the opinions made by certain persons. The Congress will screen the documentary across Kerala. The ban on the documentary shows that Modi is afraid of the truth. Screening of the documentary cannot be depicted as anti-national activity.”
The state leadership of the Youth Congress also spoke out against Antony, claiming that his viewpoint was subjective.
Responding to the controversy Antony said, “Whoever is interested should be allowed to watch the documentary. But I strongly believe that whatever political differences you have, you should not allow that to be used as a tool by external agencies against the broader national interests. National interests are paramount.”
Controversy on the BBC Documentary
Several political figures, including the ministry of external affairs, criticized the two-part BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” on the 2002 Gujarat riots, calling it a propaganda piece devoid of objectivity and a reflection of a colonial mindset.
The blocking of numerous YouTube videos and Twitter posts that contained links to the documentary was ordered last week by the union government.
The country’s sovereignty, relations with other countries, and public order, in the opinion of the government, are all at risk from the documentary.
The center’s action has been sharply criticized by Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) as an attempt at “censorship”. Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, questioned the center’s actions in blocking the film’s distribution and screening.
Students Federation of India (SFI), the student branch of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has also applied for permission to show the documentary at Kolkata’s Presidency University on Friday.
The documentary was shown in several locations throughout Kerala, which prompted protest marches by the BJP’s Yuva Morcha.
Pingback: Balasaheb Thorat Resigns From Congress Legislative Party Post - Asiana Times