Two weeks after lighting up Twitter in India with an episode sharply critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, British comedian John Oliver returned to social media trends on Monday following a segment on his satirical current-affairs programme that slammed censorship in the country.
Taking on Disney-owned online streaming platform Hotstar, which hosts the HBO-backed TV show 'Last Week Tonight', Mr Oliver blasted its decision to not upload the episode in which he roasted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and called PM Modi a "temporary symbol of hate".
“There's no evidence that the Indian government made them do that. At best, we can tell that Hotstar just decided to self-censor, which is still not good," he said.
Mr Oliver also noted that Hotstar has "quietly been doing it (censoring content) for a while now", having removed several Disney references in the past from multiple episodes. The Emmy-winning host also took on TV channel editor Arnab Goswami for his response to the original episode on CAA.
This is something I was actively looking forward to: @iamjohnoliver took on Hotstar for not airing the “Modi” episode (and editing “Disney” references in the past). I fervently hope the ridiculing continues until they're forced to respond. pic.twitter.com/HsFCpc46nK— Aniruddha Guha (@AniGuha) March 9, 2020
John Oliver on Arnab Goswami, “the Tucker Carlson of India” ???? pic.twitter.com/7a58aKJEk3— Manish Vij (@manish_vij) March 9, 2020
The segment sent John Oliver trending on Twitter in India once again with thousands of tweets.
In the previous episode of his show, Mr Oliver had delivered an 18-minute explainer of the CAA that has been criticised as anti-Muslim and triggered deadly protests across India for the last two months.
"Modi and his party may be about to strip millions of Muslims of citizenship. And they did it in a diabolically clever two step way," the comedian said, explaining the link between the CAA and the planned National Register of Citizens (NRC).
While the NRC, announced by Home Minister Amit Shah in parliament, would require all Indians to prove their citizenship with documents that many poor and illiterate do not possess, the CAA will grant citizenship to most of those left out as long as they are not Muslim, he said.
Mr Oliver capped the segment sharply criticising PM Modi and the BJP, which has maintained that the law only hopes to help non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have faced religious persecution in the past.
"The home of this enduring symbol of love," the host said, pointing at a photograph of the Taj Mahal, "frankly deserves a lot more than this temporary symbol of hate," he added, showing a picture of PM Modi.