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Anil Antony's views on BBC documentary "immature," says Tharoor

Anil resigned from all posts he was holding in the Congress party today

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor speaks during a press conference in New Delhi, Wednesday | PTI Congress leader Shashi Tharoor | PTI

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday rejected the views of Anil Antony, son of party colleague and former defence minister A.K. Antony, on a controversial BBC documentary on Gujarat riots and termed as "immature" his argument that it was an infringement into India's sovereignty.

Anil had tweeted on Tuesday that placing the views of the British broadcaster over Indian institutions would undermine the sovereignty of the nation. He has since resigned from all posts he was holding in the Congress party, citing "intolerant calls" and "abuses" over the matter.

Tharoor, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram said people of the country have the freedom to watch or not watch the BBC documentary on the 2002 riots and asked who can say the British broadcaster has no right to do a story on the topic. The Constitution of the country guarantees all rights for us to watch a documentary, he added.

When asked about Anil's argument that placing the views of the BBC over Indian institutions would set a "dangerous precedence" and "undermine" our sovereignty, Tharoor said he cannot agree with it.

"I feel that this is an immature stand," he said.

"Because, the sovereignty of our country cannot be affected so easily... will it be affected if a foreign documentary is screened?....whether our national security and sovereignty are so fragile to be affected by a documentary?" he said.

The leader, however, said Anil, who had handled the digital communications of the grand old party for sometime, was a "good person" and he had not discussed the BBC documentary issue with him.

Anil, who is said to be close to Tharoor, specially thanked him for his support in the resignation letter which he sent to the party leadership on Wednesday quitting his roles in the Congress -- as the Convener of KPCC Digital Media, and as the National Co-coordinator of AICC Social Media and Digital Communications Cell."

Anil had on Tuesday tweeted that despite large differences with the BJP, those who support and place the views of the British broadcaster and of former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw, the "brain behind the Iraq war" (involving the US-led coalition in 2003) over Indian institutions are setting a dangerous precedent.

The two-part BBC documentary, which claims it investigated certain aspects relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of that state, has been trashed by the Ministry of External Affairs as a "propaganda piece" that lacked objectivity and reflected a "colonial mindset". 

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