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Was no documentary by BBC on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots released as claimed by EAM Jaishankar?


Why no documentary on 1984 anti-Sikh riots? EAM Dr Jaishankar calls BBC documentary on PM Modi a hatchet job

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BBC documentary on the ‘Gujarat riots, 2002’ created a stir in the country recently after the ban of its screening by the Indian government. The External Affairs Minister, Jaishankar told to ANI while expressing his views on the recent BBC documentary on PM Modi, “Many things happened in Delhi in 1984, why don’t we see a documentary on that?”, mentioning the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

This piece of information was published and tweeted by OpIndia and is being widely shared by other social media users with the same question on why no documentary on 1984 riots was made by BBC whereas it covered the 2002 Gujarat riots alone. Some of the posts with such a claim can be seen here, here, and here.

What is the truth?

When searching with keywords we found that BBC did talk about the 1984 riots earlier and not only a documentary but also released a podcast on the incident.

Operation Bluestar was carried out during the first week of June 1984 by the Indian Army after the order of the then PM Indira Gandhi to remove Sikh militants who were accumulating weapons in the Golden Temple. This operation resulted in the death of 38 army personnel and 492 civilians. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the leader of Damdami Taksal was also killed during the operation.

Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31, October 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards for Operation Bluestar. This led to violent attacks on Sikhs and their properties in Delhi and other parts of the country. Incidents of violence continued till 5, November 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s death leaving several Sikhs killed in Delhi and other parts of the country. This 1984 anti-Sikh riots killed more than 3000 Sikhs in the country.

The one-hour length BBC documentary titled ‘1984 – A Sikh Story’ was released on 10, January 2010 and it talks about the storming of the Golden Temple in June 1984 and the riots in November 1984 across the country. The documentary video is found uploaded on the ‘Uraj Singh’ Youtube channel on 22, November 2013.

BBC also released a 9-minute length podcast titled ‘India Anti-Sikh Riots’ on 10, November 2015. There were also other several instances where BBC spoke about the 1984 massacre on different dates.


It is found that the claim made by EAM Dr. Jaishankar that no documentary was made on the 1984 riots is false. The BBC released a documentary in 2010 and a podcast in 2015 on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

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