Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday, 14 February took a swipe at the Narendra Modi government, saying, "while we are demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Adani, the government is after BBC."
Why it matters: The search come on the heels of a controversy surrounding a two-part documentary by the broadcaster focusing on Prime Minister Modi and his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
"We condemn these intimidation tactics in the harshest terms. This undemocratic and dictatorial attitude cannot go on any longer," Ramesh added.
What other opposition parties are saying: Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (JKPDP) chief Mehboob Mufti said,
"Cause and effect of raids on the BBC Office is quite obvious. GOI is brazenly hounding those who speak the truth. Be it opposition leaders, media, activists or anyone else for that matter. The gloves are off & there is a price one pays for fighting for truth."Mehbooba Mufti
Trinamool Party leader Mahua Moitra also chimed in, saying:
She added, "Since agencies doing these Valentine Day “Surveys” how about Income Tax Department , SEBI and Enforcement Directorate conduct one on government's most valued sweetheart Mr. A?"
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP said, "With raids at BBC's offices, the BJP Govt has proved what the world was only suspecting- that Govt of world's largest democracy is muzzling the press and there was some truth in press freedom index rankings -an international embarrassment esp at the time of India's G20 presidency."
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav posted, "News of raids on BBC is declaration of an 'ideological emergency'."
EGI condemns searches: The Editor's Guild of India (EGI) expressed "deep concern" over the searches in a statement.
The statement read, "This comes soon after the release of two documentaries by the BBC, on the 2002 violence in Gujarat and the current status of the minorities in India. The documentaries stirred political waters, with the government criticising the BBC for wrong and prejudiced reportage on the Gujarat violence, and attempting to ban online access and viewing of the films in India."
So what did BJP say?
Responding to the backlash via a press conference, BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia cast aspersions on the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC), labelling it as the "most corrupt" organisation in the world.
Whereas, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting said "Income Tax department conducts surveys from time to time where irregularities are found, and when the survey is completed, they give information. When this survey of IT will be completed, we'll give you all that information in detail," reported ANI.
Earlier on Tuesday, in an interview with news agency ANI, Union Home Minister Amit Shah reacted to the BBC documentary on PM Modi and said, “conspire as much against the truth as you want, it will come out shining like the sun. These people are after Modiji since 2002. But every time Modiji has come out clean and become more popular,” he had said.
Background: This comes four days after the Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking a ban on BBC operations in India, saying that the petition was “absolutely misconceived”.