The ongoing farmers’ protests have galvanised into a movement against one man who happens to be the Prime Minister of India – Narendra Modi. The three revolutionary farm laws have turned into an existential crisis for some political parties and vested interest groups. The result is that some people have begun hating, despising, slurring and using outrageous language against PM Modi like there is no tomorrow. The same was witnessed on BBC this Monday when during a live podcast aimed at discussing the racism faced by many Sikhs in the UK, the conversation soon steered towards the farmers’ agitation in India.
What was witnessed next was the abhorrence of a kind previously unknown to live news conversations. An abusive caller, who takes part regularly in conversations hosted by BBC, joined the programme and abused PM Modi and his aged mother in Punjabi. On being asked a question by the BBC host Priya Rai, the man interjected saying, “Modi di maa di p*udi vich latt (leg in Modi’s mother’s vagina).” The host, who herself was gobsmacked, tried to prevent the man from being heard further, and said, “Okay hang on, take a second here. Simon, thank you very much for calling.”
I fear for my community. The farm laws have been turned into an existential crisis for Sikhs. It isn't about farmers. It is about radical Sikhs venting out their anger against a man who is not apologetic about his Hindu identity, and who is leading the nation like never before.
— Sanbeer Singh ਸਨਬੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ (@SSanbeer) March 4, 2021
Priya Rai, the BBC host who anchored the show, apologised on the network’s behalf. “Before we carry on though, we just like to apologise again for some of the offensive language that was used by guests on the show earlier. It’s a live show and we discuss controversial issues often. But there was no reason for the type of language that was used and I’d like to say sorry again for any offence that was caused,” she said. In a separate statement, BBC Asian Network, where the conversation was being live-streamed, said, “On this occasion, we apologised to listeners twice afterwards for any offence caused. The programme has been edited on BBC Sounds to remove the offensive comments, keeping in line with the BBC’s editorial guidelines.”
The despicable comments made against PM Modi and his mother on BBC have prompted Indians to call for the boycott, and even banning of BBC in the country. Many BJP leaders and nationalists took to Twitter to join the chorus of #BoycottBBC and #BanBBC.
Not Only #BoycottBBC .
Its Time To #BanBBC
— Arun Yadav (@beingarun28) March 3, 2021
Its Time To #BoycottBBC .
Shame On BBC .
— Yogi Balaknath (@MahantBalaknath) March 3, 2021
Prime Minister Modi Ji and his Mother were abused live on air on BBC. BBC Radio aired it shamelessly.
This is a very derogatory and shameful thing on BBC's part.
BBC should come forward and apologise for it.#BoycottBBC pic.twitter.com/zJNW4AL8uj
— Amit Thaker (@AmitThakerBJP) March 3, 2021
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) March 3, 2021
The language used by the man is simply a testament to the fact that the ongoing farmers’ agitation has nothing to do with the farm laws, but is almost entirely premised on hatred for one man – Narendra Modi. Such is the hatred for PM Modi that those who are unaffected by the three farm reforms and are leading rather comfortable lives in foreign countries too have resorted to using the most outrageous language against a democratically-elected leader of India. It is time to pack up the farmers’ protests now, so that they do not become a national security threat a few months down the line.