In 2002, the Indian Western state of Gujarat witnessed some of the most violent religious riots in the country’s recent history. The number of those killed is disputed, but more than a thousand people, mostly Muslims, died.
Some human rights groups have pointed the finger at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat’s chief minister at the time, for what they say was turning a blind eye to the violence.
While an Indian court cleared Modi of allegations that he intentionally failed to stop the riots, a controversial new book, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up, makes stinging accusations and offers what it calls proof that links Modi and his allies to the violence.
The author of the book, Rana Ayyub, said she had to self-publish the investigation because mainstream media would not touch it. Critics, however, argue that there are serious flaws in Ayyub’s investigations.
So is dissent being stifled in Modi’s India? In this week’s Arena, Ayyub debates with Sadanand Dhume, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, about whether the government is censoring dissent.
Editor’s note: The Arena was recorded prior to the recent spate of violence in Kashmir.